Maps and Town Plans of Ireland
Our Maps of Ireland are a collection of coastal surveys, county maps and Irish town plans dating back hundreds of years. The Maps of Ireland available can provide an interesting and valuable resource into peoples lives and heritage.
The early Ptolomaic maps depict the British Isles inaccurately. Ireland's shape and position are very distorted but there are plenty of place names. This is because the later Ptolomy maps were based on Italian sea charts and Ireland and Italy had traded with each other since the 13th century. Coastline details were fairly accurate while the inland details were vague. The distortions on land-surveyed maps remained uncorrected until late in the seventeenth century but a quite accurate coastal outline was given in the marine atlases of Waghenaer, Dudley, Blaeu and later Dutch chart makers.
Maps of Ireland
Ireland is shown on a separate sheet by Mercators and Ortelius's maps of the British Isles. For a long time following other publishers kept Ireland on a separate sheet in their atlases.
A most important map of Ireland was compiled by Baptista Boazio in the 1580's. It was very decorative and was used in the Ortelius Atlas for many years.
John Speed's lovely map of The Kingdom of Ireland 1611 was based on surveys from the late 16th century. At that time Ireland was a very dangerous place so Speed probably did not do all the surveying himself which may account for some inaccuracies. His map shows figures wearing national costume. This map provided the basis for maps of Ireland for many British and European publishers during the following century.
Sir William Petty
In 1685 the first atlas of Ireland to match Saxton's Atlas of England & Wales was published by Sir William Petty as Hiberniae Detineaho, the result of a highly organized and detailed survey (the 'Down' survey) carried out in the years following 1655. Re-issued in miniature form soon afterwards by Francis Lamb, Petty's Atlas was widely used as the basis for practically all maps of Ireland produced by English, French, Dutch and German publishers in the following century. Apart from re-issues of Petty's Atlas and its many copyists there were maps by George Grierson, a Dublin publisher, John Rocque, the Huguenot surveyor and engraver who spent some years in Dublin, and Bernard Scale, Rocque's brother-in-law.
During the 1700's many large scale maps of Ireland were published, however private mapping of Ireland was gradually overtaken and replaced by the Ordnance Survey. These maps were produced between the years 1824 and 1846.
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