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An uncommon townland boundary marker in Inishowen, County Donegal, Ireland

town +‎ land.[1]



townland (plural townlands)

  1. (Ireland) A geographical unit of land smaller than a parish.
    • 1696–1706, William Montgomery, chapter IV, in George Hill, editor, The Montgomery Manuscripts: (1603–1706): Compiled from Family Papers by William Montgomery of Rosemount, Esquire; [], Belfast: James Cleeland, []; Thomas Dargan, [], published 1869, OCLC 458129176, page 55:
      Here is to be noted, that Sir Hugh got his estate by townlands, by reason of his agreement with Con O'Neil, whereas other undertakers of plantations in Ulster had several scopes of land (called proportions) admeasured to them, each containing one thousand acres, profitable for plough and good pasture, mountains and bog not reckoned in the number, but thrown in as an appurtenance.
    • 1816 May 31, Alexander Stewart, witness, “Appendix. Minutes of Evidence Taken before the Select Committee Appointed to Inquire into the Causes and Extent of Illicit Distillation of Spirits in Ireland, and the Best Means or the Prevention thereof; []”, in Reports, also, Accounts and Papers, Relating to Ireland. [], volume IX, pages 63–64:
      I am not aware that those tenants have since transgressed; but I received a letter from home, informing me that there were three fines struck upon a townland of mine, and that on the tenants of that townland being asked how that came about, the only account they gave was, that there were three stills brought from Cloghonnelly, and lodged in that townland of mine.
    • 1861 April 22, W[illia]m Reeves, “On the Townland Distribution of Ireland”, in Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, volume VII, Dublin: Printed by M[ichael] H[enry] Gill, [], published 1862, OCLC 939103862, page 473:
      The civil distribution of Ireland, in the descending scale, is into Provinces, Counties, Baronies, Parishes, and Townlands; and under these successive grades of classification every acre of Ireland is accounted for in that noble compilation, the Census of 1851,— []
    • 1903, George Moore, “Home-Sickness”, in The Untilled Field, London: T[homas] Fisher Unwin, [], OCLC 1071853128, page 158:
      [T]hey walked round the lake, for the townland was at the back of the demesne; and while they walked, James proposed to pay Mike ten shillings a week for his board and lodging.
    • 1916, [Peter O’Leary], “The Jewel”, in Shiana: From the Irish, Dublin: The Irish Book Company []; Browne & Nolan, Limited [], OCLC 978156395, pages 89–90:
      [T]he report had already been spread about the country that Shiana was out of his mind; [] that there was a batch of people in every one of the seven townlands cutting splinters of wood to make torches for the night to go in search of him, and that no doubt he would be found stuck head downwards in some hole and drowned, or in some rock-cave, perished with cold and hunger.
    • 2014, Paul Galvin, “North Kerry – Rebel Stronghold”, in In My Own Words: The Autobiography, London: Transworld Ireland, Transworld Publishers, →ISBN, page 28:
      Lixnaw is my parish and my hurling club; Ballinclogher is my townland and my home. Finuge is the football side of the parish, about 8 miles from where I grew up.



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