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Townlands of Ireland in Semantic Web format

April 14, 2010

I have added the townlands database from seanruad.com to the system. According to NUI Galway, this is the information fomr the 1851 General Alphabetical Index to the Towns, Townlands, Baronies and Parishes in Ireland.  Electoral division is not present – this was introduced in the index accompanying the 1901 census.

About 63000 townlands each with a link to

  • Parish
  • Province
  • Barony
  • County
  • Poor Law Union
  • Size in acres
  • Alias

I have decorated Parish, Province and County with geonames and dbpedia owl:sameAs. A federated query from the Lewis system is now also done when a URI is hovered over. I started by using the owl:sameAs as a join point but found after some eyeball testing that it misses quite a lot – to be investigated – so now doing a regex on the name with word boundary. Kind of defeats the purpose, but means the data gets more visibility until I can build a quick UI for it.

So now with Lewis we have townland correlations. Government and Parliamentary reports which were often based on the townland rather than the Parish can now be linked. One suggestion has been to do this with the 1906 Untenanted Parliamentary report to get a before-after-famine snapshot of land tenency. Was land being retained by landlords for private use; were potential tenants denied access and rights to land usage, what changed in tenancy patterns after the famine ?

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