Committee Celebrates Townlands

Session: 2008/2009

Date: 16 June 2009

Reference: CAL 05/08/09

Where do you call home? Is it Aughadarra? Could it be Ballymaguigan or maybe it’s Clatterknowles?

These are just some of the questions on the agenda at the Northern Ireland Assembly’s Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure major seminar at Parliament Buildings to promote and raise awareness of townland names.

Speaking before the event, Committee Chairperson, Barry McElduff, MLA, said: “This seminar is an important initiative aimed at highlighting the significance of townland names and also at holding government departments to account in terms of the promotion of townland names.

“They are a hugely important part of our heritage. People are massively interested in place, where they are from and their local identity.”

Mr McElduff, of the townland of Aghagogan, continued: “It is important not only to preserve townland names but to actively promote them within local communities. Townland names are in the common ownership of the entire community and all traditions. Everyone shares a great passion for them and they are an important part of our shared heritage.

“Many of our primary schools do excellent work in this area, as do sports clubs and community groups. District Councils play a significant role too in promoting their usage. ”

The seminar has attracted experts from across Northern Ireland who will highlight the cultural and historical significance of our local townland names and why their preservation is crucial to maintaining and further strengthening our local communities.

The Armagh Rhymers will be celebrating townlands through the medium of verse, while women’s groups from Dromore and Termonmaguire in County Tyronewill be telling stories of their communities with a dazzling display of traditional patchwork quilts.

This informative and entertaining event takes place on 17 June in Parliament Buildings, Stormont Estate, Belfast - in the townland of Ballymiscaw.

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