The concept of 'townlands' in Ireland is confusing to many people. They are sub-divisions of parishes and have a very ancient origin, probably denoting land ascribed to a family or sept by the clan chief. They still have a great importance in rural areas as a person's mailing address. Uibh Laoire parish has around 118 townlands varying enormously in size. There is often difficulty in finding a particular townland mentioned in a document as the spelling can, and does, vary wildly. Illiteracy and the insistence of the old British authorities upon English spelling, and worse still, the often erroneous translation of townland names into English has made it difficult at times to identify names mentioned in old books and records. As an example, even today, there are three totally different spellings in use daily for the townland that I live in: Eachros, Aharas and Augeris: The first being the 'original' is required by law on any signposts as we are within the 'gaeltacht', but Augeris appears on all communications from state bodies. Bureaucracy gone mad! Add to this that there are slight variations in spelling used at times for each of these and I guess that someone unfamiliar with the country could be totally defeated when trying to find me. Recently there has been an effort made in Gaeltachts to standardise spelling a little, which may eventually help.