Being proud of where you come from is a distinctive characteristic of Ulster people, particularly those born and raised in the countryside. A sense of place features strongly in the writings of poets such as John Hewitt and the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, Seamus Heaney. More than ever, this essentially rural culture finds itself under pressure to change, even to modernise by selling its heritage. But how can that heritage be uncovered and made accessible?
The townland lies at the centre of most rural communities. Many people, those who remain, those who have migrated and return to trace roots, appreciate the history of their own townlands and the communities who lived there. They have acquired a wealth of traditional knowledge from families and friends.
This volume contains eight essays by experienced local historians who describe the development of their own townland over the last four hundred years and more. They serve as a model by charting the forces and circumstances that have shaped and continue to influence our history and landscape. Of equal importance, the story of each townland is presented in a format which demonstrates how that most valuable resource, the extensive range of sources available in the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, can be used in a study for each and every townland in the province.
The contributors have built up a picture of townlands across the country and have ensured that this book is representative of the whole of Ulster and not any single part.
Creating the Framework
Forttown, County Antrim
Scolbow, County Antrim
Ballymagee, County Down
Cranfield, County Down
Drumskinney and Montiaghroe, County Fermanagh
Gallon, County Tyrone
Hollyhill, County Tyrone
Owenreagh, County Londonderry