When it comes to collecting placenames, the best kind of local sources are those interested in the project and who are both knowledgeable and well known in the community. Michael Chambers here of Shramore was my first port of call for this work on our Wild Nephin map in 2015. Living at the head of Lough Feeagh, he brought me over to see his late dad Neal, who farmed here all his life. We wrote down the names of the Glannamu area and marked them on a draft map. Michael who grew up here worked in retail at the time and is now a guide with the national park.
Later that evening Michael brought me to see a neighbour Frank McManamon of Srahreevagh. Over a cup of tea, Frank passed on many local placenames over a wide area and it was well past 11pm leaving. Hill farming a small holding and a stone mason, Frank had helped gather sheep from all over it seemed, had worked on the planting of the conifer forests there and then years later worked on projects to rewild these to the blanket bog. A man of many talents with an interest in local history and culture.
Frank also suggested other people to talk to, both in the area and also those way across the far side of the hills. Inevitably there is an amount of cold calling in this work, but on pulling into a yard or knocking at a door, mentioning Frank’s name was like a passport. Any doubt was quickly dispelled and a friendly invitation extended.
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