skip navigation  The Library of Congress >> Research Centers
AFC Logo The American Folklife Center
A - Z Index
home >> online collections >> event archive >> archive of past symposia >> rediscover northern ireland 2007 >> symposium

SYMPOSIUM: "All through the North, As I Walked Forth..."

Experience the Events

Northern Ireland's Place Names, Folklife and Landscape

May 16, 2007, Library of Congress, Washington, DC


2:30-3:00 pm -- WELCOME & INTRODUCTION: Library Officials and Peggy Bulger (Director, American Folklife Center)

Edward Redmond (Geography and Map Division) delivered a presentation on cartobibliographic resources on Northern Ireland at the Library of Congress.

3:00-3:40 pm -- INVITED SPEAKER: Kay Muhr (Northern Ireland Place Names Project, Queen's University, Belfast) on Richard Bartlett and Place-Names on his Maps of Ulster, 1600-1603 [biography]

Image: Kay Muhr
Kay Muhr, 2007.
View biography

Abstract: Mapmaker Richard Bartlett accompanied Charles Blount, Lord Deputy Mountjoy, on his campaign in Ulster to defeat Hugh O'Neill, Lord of Tyrone, in 1600-1602. Little is known of the mapmaker himself. A Richard Bartlett was mentioned as 'employed in the north and at the siege of Kinsale', and a Mr. Bartlett was listed in the English army in Ireland 1601, as the 'lord Deputy's cornet.' This officer's post, as representative of cavalry with personal access to Mountjoy, may have been a cover for a brief to provide a visual record of the campaign, as Mountjoy's secretary Fynes Morrison was doing in writing.

Unfortunately, almost the only other thing we know is the young man's end. After the Flight of the Earls in September 1607, much of the land in the west of Ulster was confiscated or 'escheated' to be allocated to new, English, owners. Sir John Davies was in charge of the Escheated County mapping, and he said his surveyors worked under guard in 1609, 'for one Barkeley being appointed by the late Earl of Devonshire [Lord Deputy Mountjoy] to draw a true and perfect map of the north parts of Ulster (the old maps being false and defective), when he came into Tyrconnell [Donegal] the inhabitants took off his head, because they would not have their country discovered.'

Three of Bartlett's manuscript maps of (probably) 1603 are the present subject, especially the South-East Ulster map, now published in Hayes McCoy's atlas, 1964. The maps show Ulster districts and their boundaries, lakes, hills, woods, churches (often roofless), castles, and crannog islands. South-East Ulster adds routeways and campaign tents, star forts, and comment on events. Some types of names shown are: Ancient Ulster -- ecclesiastical arrangements, plotting Ptolemy's map (150 AD), the Native political and cultural system and families, including inauguration sites, Settlements, and churches, Hills, Rivers, and Passes -- which were of interest then for travel, now because they may preserve a record of names which have been lost.

3:40-3:55 pm -- Response and discussion

3:55-4:15 pm -- Break

4:15-4:55 pm -- INVITED SPEAKER: Henry Glassie (Professor, Indiana University, Indiana University, Bloomington) on Ballymenone: The Power of Place and the Riddle of History [biography]

Henry Glassie
Henry Glassie, 2007.
View biography

Abstract: When he was collecting information for the Ordnance Survey, the antiquarian John O'Donovan passed through the County Fermanagh in 1835. He found that a name, reported centuries earlier in the Annals of the Four Masters (compiled between 1632 and 1636 in a monastery in County Donegal), was used for the place where the Arney River flows into Upper Lough Erne. Though inscribed on no map, absent from official documents, and unknown beyond the district, that old name, Ballymenone, was still in use when I settled into Fermanagh for study in 1972.

I came to this place, just north of the border, to learn how country people endure through history. That year, 1972, was the bloodiest year of the Troubles, and during the decade that followed, I sat at the hearth with Hugh Nolan, Michael Boyle, Peter Flanagan, and Hugh Patrick Owens, learning their view of history. To hold to the truth, they restricted their responsibility to a small region that stretched eight miles north and east, ten miles south and west, from their home in Ballymenone. They ordered their history less chronologically than spatially. Places on the familiar, hilly landscape carried names, the names evoked events. The events were cast into narratives that the local historians arranged typologically into three great classes: saints, battles, and the neighbors.

The stories of the saints who brought Christianity to Fermanagh placed upon the people the obligation of neighborly love. Their stories of battles taught them about violence and defeat. The tales they told of the neighbors revealed how people could prevail in the context of love and hate by adhering to the virtues of faith, courage and wit.

The place they walked and worked was a place of deep, disturbing history. Their history, based in place and unfolding through tales that sketched the outlines of moral action, was a resource for endurance. The narrated landscape of Ballymenone drove them into engagement with the past and forced them into the knowledge that there is no human choice but choice.

4:55-5:15 pm -- Response and discussion

5:15-5:30 -- Concluding remarks and book signing. Henry Glassie will sign copies of his book (with an accompanying CD), The Stars of Ballymenone, Indiana University Press, 2006.

  Back to Top


  home >> online collections >> event archive >> archive of past symposia >> rediscover northern ireland 2007>> symposium

A - Z Index
  The Library of Congress >> Research Centers
  October 2, 2008
Contact Us:
Ask a Librarian
October 2, 2008