Seoirse Ó Dochartaigh’s love of Irish place names began when he was seven or eight. A friend told him that he and his family were going on holidays to Ballyhornan. “Where’s that?” Seoirse asked, and his friend pointed in the direction of some far-away hills. “Over there”, he said. It was a green, misty region of rolling hills and tree groves. Seoirse repeated the mantra in a whisper “Ballyhornan, Ballyhornan, Ballyhornan…” It was a similar enchantment to that which the American sailors experienced in the musical South Pacific to "Bali Ha'i", a mystical island, visible on the horizon but not reachable – an exotic paradise. Ballyhornan was Seoirse’s Bali Ha'i.
In the course of this exploration, the book provides some insight and enlightenment, and, perhaps, offered a challenge to some long-held (but erroneous) interpretations. The exploration of the place names of Ireland is a never-ending story.
Know Your Place will appeal to all those with an interest in Irish history and culture, and one’s sense of ‘place’ in the world.