A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland compiled by Samuel Lewis and published in London in 1837, marked a new and significantly higher standard in such accounts of Ireland. Apart from The Parliamentary Gazetteer of Ireland published in 1845, it has not been superseded.
It formed part of an England, Wales and Scotland series where more local research had already been done. In the 1837 preface, the editor noted that 'The numerous county histories, and local descriptions of cities, towns, and districts of England and Wales, rendered the publication of their former works, in comparison with the present, an easy task. The extreme paucity of such works, in relation to Ireland, imposed the necessity of greater assiduity in the personal survey, and proportionately increased the expense'. The aim of the text was to give in 'a condensed form, a faithful and impartial description of each place'.
Lewis relied on the information provided by local contributors and on the earlier works published such as Coote's Statistical Survey (1801), Taylor and Skinner's Maps of the Road of Ireland (1777), Pigot's Trade Directory (1824 and other sources. He also used the various parliamentary reports and in particular the census of 1831 and the education returns of the 1820s and early 1830s. Local contributors were given the proof sheets for final comment and revision. The names of places are those in use prior to the publication of the Ordnance Survey Atlas in 1838. Distances are in Irish miles (the statute mile is 0.62 of an Irish mile).
The dictionary gives a unique picture of Ireland before the Great Famine.
Select from the names aside for the entries about places in Lecale.