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Clare placenames

The Clare Placenames Committee was set up under the Clare Heritage Plan to advise and monitor the selection of suitable names for housing developments in the county. The group is representative of various cultural and historical bodies in the County and work in conjunction with Council officers. The groups represented include Clare Historical Society, Clare County Council, Conradh na Gaeilge, An Clár as Gaeilge, Ennis Town Council, Kilrush Civic Offices and Cairdeas Logainmneacha na Sionna.  The study and development of the placenames has been largely reinforced by the establishment of a wide network of people learned in the various disciplines of local knowledge and experience. Those interested are still welcome to participate in the group.

The provision of a placenames service has been a vital factor in the establishment of a good rapport between the interested parties and further development in this sphere is welcome. Due to legislation introduced by the Department of the Environment and Local Government it is now necessary to provide names reflecting the traditions and general environment of each locality and this is provided for in the Committee's deliberations. Emphasis is placed on a "user friendly" choice of name and developers are encouraged to choose placenames along specified guidelines.

This formula is catered for in the excellent guide booklet "Name Your Place" published by Cairdeas Logainmneacha Na Sionna, the Shannon based study group which in co-operation with the National Language Body, Foras Na Gaeilge launched the booklet in March 2004. This initiative of the Shannon group has given an added impetus to the naming process as exemplified by the number of Gaelic placenames in the town.

Coiste Logainmneacha an Chláir Officers

  • Cathaoirleach: Ristéard Úa Cróinín
  • Leas-Cathaoirleach: Dr. Hugh Weir
  • Runaí: Emer Ní Fhlaitheartaigh
  • Banisteóir Tionschadal: Tomás Mac Conmara

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Studying Clare's placenames

A placename can include the name of any province, county, city, town, village, barony, parish or townland, or of any territorial feature (whether natural or artificial), district, region or place.  Awareness of our placename heritage offers a tremendous insight into the past.  Today's students of local history, folklore, anthropology or archaeology can all benefit from an advanced awareness of placenames.  In Clare, Coiste Logainmneacha an Chláir are determined to collect information relating to placenames across the county, make this information available to the broader public and ultimately stimulate increased interest in our placename heritage.  

Milltown Malbay and Kilkee studies

The Clare Heritage Section of Clare County Council and Coiste Logainmneacha an Chláir are delighted to announce the completion of placenames studies of the coastal area of Kilkee as well as Miltown Malbay, which were conducted under the Clare Heritage Plan implementation, 2007.  The results of both studies can be obtained by contact the Clare Heritage Section or by emailing

Within the townlands of County Clare

In 2008, funding was secured from Clare County Council and the Heritage Council, under the Clare Heritage Plan implementation, to establish a structure for the recording of Clare Placenames information that is to be found within the townlands of county Clare.

In order to develop the above, it was proposed to design a working system for the recording of local fieldnames on a townland basis.  A townland is the smallest geographical unit in Ireland with over 60,000 such units recorded.  According to the maps of the Ordinance Survey, there are 2176 townlands in Clare, each providing a rich resource of placenames information. 

The development of the Clare Placenames Project has seen several townland studies currently being conducted by volunteers across the county. Comprehensive research has been conducted into existing studies and an online site is being prepared to receive and present the information. 

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Heritage week lecture

During Heritage Week 2008, a lecture was organised to focus on the cultural herirtage of Miltwon Malbay.  The lecture 'Currachs, Boats & Placenames of Miltown Malbay and Beyond', which was attended by in excess of 60 people discussed the placename heritage of Miltown Malbay in West Clare. 

Any questions or information should be forwarded to Tomás Mac Conmara, Project Leader, Clare Placenames Project at or on (065) 6846456.

Placenames conference

Changing Names - The Dynamic World of Irish Placenames and Their Meanings

'Changing Names' was the title given to the first Placenames Conference held in County Clare. The Conference was held in the Burren College of Art, Ballyvaughan, between 11th and 13th of April 2003. The papers address the origins, durability and evolution of Clare placenames, and the importance of their collection and preservation. 

Further research links

There are a number of Placenames projects in operation across the country.  For anyone interested in further research, Coiste Logainmneacha an Chláir recommend the following links.

Further information

Contact: Emer Ní Fhlaitheartaigh, Runaí, Coiste Logainmneacha an Chláir


Telephone: (065) 6846512

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