“The portion of the townland of Yellow Walls, in the parish of Malahide, which is bounded by the Malahide Strand or Estuary on the north, by Seatown East and Drinan on the west, and on the south and east by an imaginary line commencing at the western boundary of the said townland of Yellow Walls…”1
ellow Walls is one of more than 60,000 ‘townlands’ in Ireland. A townland is an area comprising anywhere between less than an acre and several thousand acres. Historically the territorial divisions in Ireland are counties first and largest, followed in descending size by baronies, parishes and townlands, with townlands being the unit division. In cities and large towns division is by parishes and streets, with the latter being the unit division.2
The origins of a townland name usually refer to a prominent landmark in the local area such as a village, church, fort or wood3, or in the case of Yellow Walls, possibly to a local industry carried on there.
While some townlands were created after the Norman invasion of 1169, the majority have names derived from the Irish language, indicating more ancient origins.
The boundaries of townlands in Ireland were surveyed and recorded by the Ordnance Survey of Ireland in the 1830s. Maps from the period show the names, shapes and sizes of all of the country’s townlands. Nineteenth century maps4† show the townland of Yellow Walls encompassing about 405 acres. An extract5 from the map below shows the figure ‘405’ under the letter ‘A’ which stands for ‘acres’. The other letters ‘R’ and ‘P’ stand for ‘roods’ and ‘perches’, respectively. A rood is 1/4 of an acre, while a perch is 1/40th of a rood.6
The boundaries of the Yellow Walls townland are shown in the maps below.
Other townlands bordering Yellow Walls include Auburn, Drinan, Malahide Demesne (which includes Malahide Castle), and Malahide itself.
*This map can be accessed at the UCD Digital Library and is entitled “Map of the Environs of Dublin, / Drawn and Engraved under the Superintendence of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge”.
†The first complete ordnance survey of Ireland took place between 1829 and 1842 and resulted in a series of maps at a scale of 6 inches to one mile (referred to as Historic 6″ on the OSI map viewer). A second survey was completed between 1887 and 1913 resulting in a series of maps at a scale of 25 inches to one mile (referred to as Historic 25″ on the OSI map viewer).
1. Parliamentary Notices, The Freeman’s Journal, November 15 1872.
2. Twelfth General Report from the Church Estates Commissioners; with an Appendix. 1863.
3. Mitchell, Brian. A new genealogical atlas of Ireland. Genealogical Publishing Company, 2002.
4. Ordnance Survey Of Ireland, Public Map Viewer [online].
5. Ordnance Survey Of Ireland 6″ Map [online]. Reproduced under licence from Ordnance Survey of Ireland; Licence No. NE 0000414.
6. Pedder, James. The farmer’s land-measurer: or, Pocket companion, showing at one view, the content of any piece of land from dimensions taken in yards; with a set of useful agricultural tables, 1853.