The home of the place-names of the islands of Muile/Mull, Ulbha/Ulva and surrounding smaller islands.


Where are Muile/Mull and Ulbha/Ulva?

In the Inner Hebrides, off the west coast of Scotland.

What is the aim of the project?

To complete a comprehensive survey of local place-names to establish what they mean.

What do place-names tell us?

Place-names reveal things that no other source can about the everyday lives of local people across time.  They tell us about:

  • The languages spoken by local people
  • The lives of people across all social classes
  • The natural environment
  • The relationship between people and the natural environment
  • Stories, traditions and lore
  • Land-use, land-assessment and land-division
  • Archaeology
  • The Church

What is the original language of the place-names?

Mostly Gaelic with some Old Norse names and a few recent English names.

Why do these islands have two names?

Until the mid 20th century, Gaelic was the main language of these islands.  Gaelic is still spoken by local people and many local children are in Gaelic-medium education.  Most local place-names only have a Gaelic form.  A few local place-names, like Muile/Mull and Ulbha/Ulva, have two forms: a Gaelic form and an English form.

What does place-name research involve?

  • Collecting and analysing the oldest written forms of place-names from sources such as documents and maps
  • Collecting and analysing local pronunciations of place-names
  • Collecting and analysing other information about local places by talking to local people
  • Analysing place-names within the context of the local landscape and environment
  • Analysing place-names within the context of local history

Who is doing the research?

Dr Alasdair C. Whyte (University of Glasgow), from An Sàilean/Salen in Muile/Mull.

When did the project begin?

October 2019.

How long will the project last?

3–5 years.

Can I get updates on the project?

Yes, via Project News and monthly articles in the local newspaper Round & About.

Where will the research be available?

In a number of different outputs as the project develops.  Keep an eye on Project News for updates.  By the end of the project, the research will be available: