OS Letters cover

The Ordnance Survey Letters – Wicklow

Edited by Christiaan Corlett & John Medlycott
Published 2000, L + 165pp, paperback, illustrated
Published by Roundwood & District Historical & Folklore Society and Wicklow Archaeological Society
The so-called Ordnance Survey Letters were compiled as part of research linked to the first detailed mapping of Ireland by the Ordnance Survey. The Letters were written by John O’Donovan, Eugene Curry and Thomas O’Conor during their field work in Co. Wicklow during the winter of 1838 and 1839. Their instructions were to record the origins and meaning of the Irish placenames in the county and describe the important historical and archaeological monuments that they visited. This information was recorded in their Letters sent to the head office of the Ordnance Survey in the Phoenix Park in Dublin. Today these Letters provide an invaluable historical impression of Co. Wicklow in the first half of the 19th century and frequently record placenames, traditions and customs that died out during the Great Famine a few years later. The Letters are dotted with humour and also includes a very vivid description of spending the night in Glendalough during a terrific storm that became known as the Night of the Big Wind in January 1839.

PDFs are available here of the Introduction (with the original index) ad the main text of the OS Letters

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