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|Ordnance Survey 6-Inch Maps, 1842|
The Ordnance Survey took its name from the Board of Ordnance, a military organisation, and the field surveys were carried out by men of the Royal Engineers who were based in various barracks around the country. In time they became better known as ‘The Sappers’, and they had to determine the exact boundaries of over 60,000 townlands and to record the local spelling of each one of them.
There were four OS centres in Ireland—Dublin, Belfast, Cork, and Ennis. The Ordnance Survey House in College Road, Ennis, now Maoin Cheoil an Chláir, became their local headquarters in Clare, and was the centre of operations for the survey and mapping of Clare, Limerick, part of Galway, and of Kerry, in the earlier stages of the work, and later Sligo, Leitrim and Roscommon. The entire survey was under the direction of Colonel Thomas Colby who realised the need, not just to produce a series of accurate and realistic maps, but also to complement it with a separate topographical inventory of all places of interest in each county, as well as aspects of architecture and archaeology.
George Petrie, the well known antiquarian, was in charge of the topographical department of the OS from 1833 to 1839, evaluating the vast volume of recorded information coming in from the surveying officers field-books. He was ably assisted by John O’Donovan and Eugene Curry, whose work took them into every parish in the country, to identify various field monuments, and to assist in the authentication of local placenames. The results of these investigations are contained in a number of volumes generally referred to as the Ordnance Survey Letters, three of which contain information relative to the antiquities of County Clare, collected during the progress of the Survey in the county in 1839. The OS Field Name Books record townland names in English and Irish, as well as their meanings, in addition to a variety of other information.
The survey was completed in 1846 and
led to the publication of 1,906 superbly-drawn engraved maps which
illustrated the entire country. The
72 maps devoted to County Clare were published in 1842. The maps were
well received in all quarters and fully merited the viewpoint that Ireland
had now ‘become the best mapped country in the world.’
|<< 1842 Ordnance Survey Maps of Clare|