John O'Donovan's manuscript

The pages of John O’Donovan’s manuscript (see above) as a zipped archive of high-resolution images.

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John O'Donovan's manuscript

This manuscript is classified as ‘Glossary, Irish Topog[raphical] Dict[ionary]’ on the spine of its bound cover and also on an insertion written in ink which is pasted in one of the blank pages to the front. ‘Ordnance Survey of Ireland’ is also printed on the spine of the cover. In all probability the manuscript was written in its entirety by John O’Donovan while employed by the Ordnance Survey.

O’Donovan began his employment with the Ordnance Survey on 28 October 1830. The second section of the manuscript was written less than two months later. Another contempory date in the manuscript is a letter dated Jan[uar]y? 15, 1832 by Myles John O’Reilly to O’Donovan which has been attached to the back page. O’Donovan transcribed various entries from Sanas Cormaic (or Cormac’s Glossary) in the blank spaces of the letter and the same entries are included in the third section of the manuscript. There is also a further small sheet of paper attached to the back page and headed, in O’Donovan’s hand, ‘Topographical words extracted from an Irish song’.

The contents of the manuscript, which is unpaginated, are as follows:

  1. A glossary in alphabetical order of various Anglicised placename elements, followed by their Irish forms and a translation. A fair copy of a manuscript compiled and written by John O’Donovan in November and December 1830 -- see A. Ó Maolfabhail, ‘An tSuirbhéireacht Ordanáis agus Logainmneacha na hÉireann 1824-34’, PRIA 89 C 3 (1989).

  2. ‘Derivation of all the names of places in Lanigan’s +Ecclesiastical History of Ireland+ [four volumes, 1822] as given by himself, by Vallancey and others with remarks by J. O’Donovan. December 23, 1830’.

  3. ‘A list of Irish words that enter into the composition of many names of places in Ireland’. The Irish words are followed by a translation and generally by relevant examples from placenames. Some personal names and surnames are also included. The date 'Nov[embe]r 26th 1831' is recorded in the text.

  4. ‘A list of saints’ names to whom Irish church[es] were dedicated’. This short list is on the final verso page and includes toponymic examples of the saints’ names.

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