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Launch of new book about placenames of Oilen Clire

Monday, 7th January, 2013 9:18am
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Launch of new book about placenames of Oilen Clire

By Leo McMahon

AN LOGAINMNIOCHT in Oileán Cléire (The Placenames of Cape Clear Island) by Eamon Lankford, was officially launched by emeritus professor of Irish at University College Cork, Seán O Coileain, at a very well-attended function recently in The Flying Enterprise Lounge and Restaurant, Cork.

Prof O Coileain said that in addition to being a comprehensive and detailed listing of over 2,200 placenames, plus maps and colour photographs, the 350-page book focused on how and why features of natural and cultural landscape were named down through the centuries and what could be learned from these.

He also noted that Eamon had been collecting since the mid 1970s from older generations who were native speakers, information that would otherwise be lost and congratulated the author and everyone associated with the book.

Born and reared in a bilingual household on the northside of Cork, Eamon pointed out that he didn’t step on to Cape Clear until 1975, having heard a lot about it from his wife Mairin, who spent a lot of time there in the 1960s. Initially, they ran a summer course in Irish to student teachers there and helped found the museum and heritage centre on the Gaeltacht isle where the family had a holiday home for some years.

Having got to know the local community, especially older people who had a deep knowledge of its fishing and farming methods, its fields, coastline, roads, lanes, wildlife, its rich heritage, folklore, way of life and other features, he started collecting placenames over 30 years ago.

Eamon thanked Seán O Coileain, Monsignor Pádraig O Fiannachta, Maynooth and Canon Micheal O Dalaigh, who encouraged him to make his work the subject of a PhD he completed in 1995; Dr Fionnghula Sweeney, who drew the maps; Fintan O’Connell of Inspire Design and Print, Skibbereen; the Heritage Council and Bord na Gaeilge, UCC for funding support; his wife Mairin and family and especially the people of Cape Clear and those who supplied and helped him compile the names, including Pádraig O Ceadagain, Donnchadh Sheamais O Drisceoil, Eireamhoin O Drisceoil and Bill Curtin.

A welcome was extended by Cecilia O Drisceoil, former principal of the island’s primary school. She pointed out that Eamon is also author of Cape Clear Island – its People and Landscape; Naomh Ciaran, Pilgrim Islander; ‘Bealach Oidhreachta/Cape Clear Island Heritage Trail’; Fastnet, An Charraig Aonair; O Driscolls, Past and Present, and of course the Cork County Place Names Survey Collection housed in the county library and launched by former president Mary McAleese a few years ago.

Thanks were expressed to Finbarr (Inchigeela) and Dolly (Drinagh) O’Shea, daughter Fionualla and staff of The Flying Enterprise at the reception, where Eamon presented a copy of the book to Séamus O Drisceoil, cathaoirleach, bord bainistiochta, Scoil Inis Cléire.

The large attendance included Eamon’s wife Mairin, daughter in law Jenni and grandson Adam; nieces Siobhan and Maeve Lankford, nephews Séamus and Pádraig Lankford, David Browne, Canon Ó Dalaigh, Fr Liam O’Regan, Fr Patrick Hickey, Prof Gearoid O Crualaoi, Prof Breandan O Conchuir, Dr Riobaird O hUrdail, Dr Colin Rynne, Dr Paddy and Mrs Cronin, Pádraig Hamilton of Gael Taca, Cork County Library staff; the Hegartys and Fordes from Drinagh and a large contingent of Cape Clear islanders while busy selling books were Michelle Higgins, Claire Daly and Lorraine Hurley of the Cork Placenames Survey office.

The book is on sale priced €28, direct from Eamon at Logainmneacha Chorcaí, Aras, 13, Dyke Parade, Cork (Tel 021-4274110) and at Liam Ruiseal’s, Cork, and other bookshops and online from litriocht.com and eamon.lankford@gmail.com.