Ordnance Survey Letters Offaly (2008)
Author: John O'Donovan
Book ID: 65110
Ordnance Survey Letters Offaly. Letters Containing Information Relative to the Antiquities of the King’s County Collected During the Progress of the Ordnance Survey in 1837-38. Edited with an Introduction by Michael Herity. Dublin: Four Masters Press, 2008. Half calf, marbled boards, title in gilt to spine. A fine bright copy.
One of 150 Specially Bound Copies. This copy inscribed by Michael Herity on half-title.
John O’Donovan was employed by Thomas Larcom, Superintendent of the Survey, in the autumn of 1830 to research the ancient forms of place-names with the object of arriving at an approved spelling of each name to be marked on the ordnance maps. He became the leader of a team of Irish scholars recruited by Larcom from that time on: Patrick O’Keeffe, Thomas O’Connor and Eugene and Anthony O ‘Curry. The poet James Clarence Mangan was also a member of the team, which was later captained by George Petrie.
The OS Letters, begun in Co. Down, are commentaries written regularly from the field between 1834 and 1843, detailing the progress of John O’Donovan and his fellow workers in ascertaining the forms of the names as pronounced and understood locally, and deciding on the orthography of the manes to be engraved on the printed maps. While the Field Name Books are the basic document, the Letters, written almost entirely to Thomas Larcom at Mountjoy Barracks in the Phoenix Park, contain much interesting material, explaining the rate of progress O’Donovan and his colleagues were making, and describing the characters they met.