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A system that dates back centuries

Published 16/11/2015

The division of Ireland into townlands is believed to be unique. Historically, Ireland was divided into four provinces - Ulster, Munster, Leinster and Connacht - which were then separated into counties. They were then further broken up into baronies, which, in turn, were split into parishes, each parish being made up of a number of different townlands - an estimated 9,000 in all. These small areas of land can vary in size from a few acres upwards but formed the basis of the most important of all Irish genealogical records , Sir Richard Griffith's Valuation of 1848-1865. Here are some you may never have heard of:

Aghalurcher is a civil parish located mainly in the barony of Magherastephana, Co Fermanagh and partly in the barony of Clogher in Co Tyrone. The Catholic parish of Aghalurcher or Aughalurcher, also known as Lisnaskea, includes the towns of Lisnaskea and Maguiresbridge.

Bunnisnagapple is a townland in Aghavea Civil Parish, in Barony Co Fermanagh, between Brookeborough and Cooneen which also stretches for a long distance across Co Tyrone.

Ballyore is an area of about 0.21 square miles in the civil parish of Clondermot in Co Derry, which borders Gortin to the south, Primity to the east and Rossnagalliagh to the west and it is believed to be from the Irish name Baile-odhair.

Crossnenagh from the Irish Cros Doineandaigh is a townland in Co Armagh, south of Keady, which until relatively recently still had a post office.

Derrynoose from the Irish Doire Nuis, meaning "oakwood of new milk" forms part of a village in Co Armagh which also takes in part of two other townlands, Mullyard and Crossnamoyle.

Gillygooly is a townland in the parish of Drumragh, in Co Fermanagh again, although its website has little data and there appears to be variations on how it can be spelled.

Inishargy is near Kircubbin on the Strangford peninsula in Co Down, but has a far longer history. Its earliest appearance in written form dates back to 1204 in Papal chancery documents, but there is still a dispute over whether its Irish name means island hill or the island of the rock.

Magheramesk comes in the barony of Upper Messereene, in Co Antrim, and the diocese of Connor, united with the vicarages of Aghagallen and Aghalee.

Termonamungan is in the barony of Omagh, Co Tyrone, 11 miles south west of Strabane, between Pettigoe and Newtownstewart and straddles the river Derg.

Urney is a townland comprising 188 acres in Co Tyrone, which was the historic first manufacturing location of Urney Chocolates, established in 1919. The original factory burned down five years later and production moved to Tallaght in Dublin, where by the 1960s it had almost 1,000 workers.

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