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Bringing townland pride to Rathfriland.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Bringing townland pride to Rathfriland. thumbnail One of the townland marker stones at the mouth of the Lissize Road on the Banbridge Road side.

THE installation of townland marker stones in Rathfriland has been praised by the local community.

The four markers appeared on the roadside 10 days ago along Downpatrick Street, Lissize Road, Ballyroney Road and the Newry Road.

Rathfriland Historical Society decided to put up the stone markers of townlands and their descriptions as they believe it is important that Rathfriland's four townlands of Cross, Lissize, Kiltarriff and Rosconnor are preserved and not forgotten.

And they have so far appeared to be a hit with many locals with many commenting that they are a "great idea" and others stating that they would like to see similar markers in their areas.

Each of the townland markers have an inscription of what the townland name means, including Lissize which means 'enclosure of the wood / wooded height'.

George James from Rathfriland Historical Society said the group is delighted that the markers have now been installed after first seeking permission from council to install the solid stone markers some 10 months a go.

He said that all spellings for the place names have been taken from Place Names of Northern Ireland.

"We are aware there are various spellings of some of the townland names. For instance Kiltarriff is spelt many ways but the way we have seen it the most historically is with two Rs." He added that while there are seven roads out of Rathfriland, it was just not possible to put up markers on every one of the roads.

"It means that two roads out of Rathfriland may pass through one townland. We would have loved to have included all seven but we could not afford it so we had to choose the locations." And that was not as easy as it may seem.

"It was unfortunately not just a matter of picking where we wanted it but we had to choose somewhere that was suitable to the Department of Infrastructure." The locations chosen now have four solid stone townland markers, four concrete plinths and four interpretive and display boards at the borders of the town.

Mr James says the information panels will appear in the next few weeks.

"The information panels are still in the process of being compiled. The stands are in place and the panels will be put up shortly.

"They will contain information about the townlands and indeed about Rathfriland and various population trends in the area." Community efforts to instil greater local pride and awareness have been gaining momentum in recent years. Townland marker stones have been on the increase over the course of the last decade.

Annaclone Historical Society erected 15 townland stones across the parish of Annaclone as a part of a pilot scheme known as The Placename Project while Clonduff Historical and Heritage Group also created a total of 83 granite stones

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