Meeting House is usually a name associated with Presbyterians. This photograph, of the church in Portadown that my uncle Harvey Shaw is pastor of, shows that its not limited to Presbyterians. In Greyabbey theres an old street sign for Meetin Hoose Raa. As a name I like meeting house far better than church, because the word church is meant to refer to a group of people, not a building. Im sure somebody out there can tell me a bit about the history of the term.


I was down that way a few weeks ago, and on the road into Banbridge Dromore Street to be precise I noticed a cluster of streets with good Ulster-Scots names, like Burn Brae Court and Burn Brae Green. There may well be more like that. In the main, the incoming Scots settlers of the 1600s were happy to retain the existing Irish townland names, but introduced Scots names for smaller areas within the townlands. Theres a project in there somewhere, to map all of those smaller names – however, many have never been officially recorded on maps or surveys and so they only remain in the memories of the older generation. The libraries and archives will in theory always be there, but the people with the unrecorded knowledge will pass away.