Gazetteer of Gaelic place-names goes online

A new online gazetteer providing a single authoritative source of information on Gaelic place-names was launched today (19 August 2010) at The Highland Council’s Gaelic Committee.

The National Gazetteer of Gaelic Place-names is the culmination of 10 years of research by Ainmean-Àite na h-Alba (AÀA), the national advisory partnership to research and establish Gaelic place-names.

In the form of an online database the gazetteer offers definitive forms which can be used by local authorities, the media, researchers, local communities, walkers and climbers or anyone with an interest in place-names. The gazetteer includes historical information, local sources and sound files to help with pronunciation.

“Gaelic place names”

Bill Weston, Chairman of Ainmean-Àite na h-Alba said: “We are proud to announce that the Gazetteer is now available to meet the growing demand for accurate and reliable information about Gaelic place-names. We are very grateful for the support, advice and funding from Bòrd na Gàidhlig, The Highland Council, Argyll and Bute Council and all of our partners and clients in making this possible. We hope that the database will be an invaluable educational tool and a treasure trove for Scotland’s historical, environmental and linguistic heritage.”

The National Gazetteer, which is freely available to the public at provides a single source of authoritative information on Gaelic place-names, including the research on which names have been determined, links to bibliographical information and each six figure gird reference links to a map to locate each name. At present there are 1,000 entries covering places throughout Scotland. Work will continue to add further research and sound files to assist with pronunciation, and to expand the number of entries.

Welcoming the launch of the Gazetteer Chairman of The Highland Council’s Gaelic Committee Councillor Hamish Fraser said: “I am delighted that the Ainmean-Àite na h-Alba Gazetteer is now live and that The Highland Council’s Gaelic Committee is being used as the platform for the launch. It will not only continue to be an invaluable resource to Highland Council staff who work in transport, planning and development, countryside services, tourism, Gaelic development and education but it will have a wide appeal to the general public who want to know the definitive translation of Gaelic place names.

“People in Scotland”

He added: “The Council has been a key supporter, funder and advisor to Ainmean-Àite na h-Alba working in partnership to deliver names for Gaelic signage since 2003. Work is continuing on names for the Highland core paths network.”

The Gazetteer meets one of the key objectives of Bòrd na Gàidhlig’s National Plan for Gaelic 2007 – 2012 to ‘research, develop and promote a national gazetteer of Gaelic place-names’.

Arthur Cormack, Chair of Bòrd na Gàidhlig said: “The launch of the Gazeteer marks a significant point in the development of a vital element of Gaelic research and knowledge dissemination. A major resource like this with the authority and backing of many key agencies enables us to, take to a new level, the work being done in terms of people understanding why our environment is labelled and named in the way it is. The work done to date will be invaluable and I know that many people in Scotland will be much more well informed as a result.”

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