Gertrude Stein defines poetry as passion for the names of things. Having a special passion for the names of places, Irish poetry has kept close to the toponymical Celtic tradition of the dinnsheanchas. This paper looks into the works of three Ulster poets from the time of the Troubles which explore the landscape memory mechanisms preserved in the ancient lore of places. Seamus Heaney, Medbh McGuckian and Ciaran Carson reveal – and often complicate – the etymology of the local place-names to deal with the imperial and linguistic dispossession by the British. The main motive behind this verse, however, is the awareness that the act of naming is both a life-giving gesture and a reductive statement of possession. Their common source of reference is the Old-Irish legend Táin Bó Cúailnge and its intricate etymological digressions.