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Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


History, Linguistics, Folklore studies, 6.5 OTHER HUMANITIES


Most Irish people likely have little or no knowledge of the richness and variety of their ancestor’s diet before the arrival of the potato. For generations, food was considered far too common to be considered a field of study. Considering the primacy of food in people’s lives generally throughout history, it is logical that food be reflected in toponymic references to environment and landscape. This article taps into a wide range of material including poetry, prose, travellers’ reports, mythology, folklore, letters, shipping records, and archaeological evidence, both to contextualize the food-related placenames of Ireland, and to explore what Irish placenames can tell us about the diet and foodways of the past. The vast majority of Irish placenames have their origin in the Irish language. The process of Anglicization of these placenames resulted in rendering them unintelligible. This article de-codes Irish food-related placenames and champions the study of gastro-topography.