Compilation: Maps of Ireland in Irish

For as long as anyone can remember, Irish culture has sustained the tradition of dinnseanchas – ancient lore about the origins of Ireland’s many traditional place-names. Gaeilge, the Irish language, is is one of Europe’s oldest languages, and is rooted in the land in ways that many other European languages are not. And yet, for centuries, colonial forces have continually tried to uproot Irish culture and Irish language. In the year 1800, the Act of Union brought the administration of Éire under British control. In typical colonial fashion, the new rulers’ first act was to map the land – a process known as the Ordnance Survey in Éire. The Ordnance Survey created ‘standardized’ English names for the island’s many features – townlands, rivers, hills – weakening and erasing local place-name traditions such as dinnseanchas.

Since that time, English has continued to replace Gaeilge not just in maps, but in all facets of Irish life. Gaeilge maps have always existed, but are uncommon since the Ordnance Survey made English the official language of Irish geography. For those seeking to relearn traditions like dinnseanchas, and decolonize Éire, finding map resources can be difficult. To make it easier, we’ve compiled 19 maps of Éire labelled with Gaeilge place-names.

These maps vary in style and content – there are handmade maps and digital maps, old and new, bilingual English/Gaeilge and monolingual Gaeilge, and maps with and without the Republic of Ireland–Northern Ireland border.

If you know of any maps we could add to this list, leave us a comment below or email us at decolonialatlas@gmail.com

Map 1 – Léarscáil na hÉireann, 1948

Ireland 11

Map 2 – Éire. Source: Fallon’s Irish School Atlas circa 1948.

Ireland 12

Map 3 – Placenames in Irish. Source: Ball State University

Ireland 7

Map 4 – 16th Century Provinces and Family Name Heraldic Map Of Ireland. Source: Print Shop Bunratty

Ireland 13

Map 5 – Bilingual Ireland / Éire in English and Gaeilge. Source: Alasdairgunn

Ireland 1

Map 6 – Bilingual Republic of Ireland / Poblacht na hÉireann in English and Gaeilge. Source: 123RF

Ireland 15

Map 7 – Source: St. Cronan’s School textbook

Ireland 2

Map 8 – Borderless, physical Éire map. Source: Jordan Engel, Decolonial Atlas

Ireland 3

Map 9 – Éire. Source: Malconeous

Ireland 9

Map 10 – Poblacht na hÉireann. Source: Wikipedia

Ireland 4

Map 11 –  Poblacht na hÉireann agus Tuaisceart Éireann. Source: 123RF

ireland 14

Map 12 – Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) jerseys – Póstaeir & Léarscáileanna – Éire. Source: Gael Linn

ireland 5

Map 13 – Éire. Source:  The Learning Store

Ireland 6

Map 14A – The Celtic nations – Breizh (Brittany), Kernow (Cornwall), Éire (Ireland), Mannin (Isle of Man), Alba (Scotland), and Cymru (Wales), labelled in Brezhoneg (Breton), Kernowek (Cornish), Gaeilge (Irish), Gaelg (Manx), Gàidhlig (Scottish Gaelic), and Cymraeg (Welsh). Source: Bloke22

Ireland 10

Map 14B – The Celtic Nations. Source: Geobreizh

Celtic Nations

Map 15A – Tír Cholm Cille – Gaelic placenames of Éire and Alba, printed by Collins Bartholomew, 2003, concept and editing Roy N. Pedersen, poster can be purchased at www.gaelicbooks.org . Source: Colm Cille

Ireland 16

Map 15B – A portion of the Tír Cholm Cille map showing Ulaidh (Ulster) / Tuaisceart Éireann (Northern Ireland)

N Ireland

Map 16 – Sléibhte na hÉireann (Mountains of Ireland). Source: Dáimhiúil

Map of Ireland mountains blue in Irish

Map 17 – Lochanna na hÉireann (Lakes of Ireland). Source: Dáimhiúil

Ireland Lakes

Map 18 – Aibhneacha na hÉireann (Rivers of Ireland). Source: Dáimhiúil

Map of the rivers of Ireland

Map 19 – Éire Thuaidh / Ireland North : A Cultural Map of Irish Place-Names. Source: OSNI, 1998

EireThuaidh-page-0

7 comments

      • “British Imperialism” had a grand time with “The Opium Wars” against China, I’m just being ironic that England may have done to Ireland what they did to China – imagine “free British Beer” to get the party started. I’m an “ancestral” Irishman (father Canadian Irish) and my father a survivor of a father being a “A Drunken Irishman” an archetype that is still quite prevalent, an Irish bloke I know cannot give up getting blotto and fighting, because that’s his “Irish Heritage”.

        Liked by 1 person

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