PLACE-NAMES IN THE PARISH OF CULFEIGHTRIN by Cahal Dallat

This article previously appeared in The Glynns Volume 9 (1981).  It is re presented here with additional hyperlinks and photographs.

Baronies_of_Antrim (2)

The barony takes its name from the Cahir Righ, traditionally the summer court or seat of Connor, King of Ulster in the first century of the Christian era. The Cahir Righ was situated in the townland of Ballynaglough, but on the other side of the road from, and south of, the Church of Ireland parish church of Culfeightrin. — See six inch O.S. map of Antrim, sheet 9. According to O’Laverty, Down and Connor, Vol. IV, p. 482 not a trace of any ancient remains (of the Cahir Righ) is now to be seen in the field.

Murlough Bay and Torr Head — the latter with its ancient fort of Dun Bhuraigh (Dunworry) on the site of which the coastguard “look out” is built — and both of which are situated in the parish — are points mentioned by the historian Geoffrey Keating in his History of Ireland, Book II, Section XXVII. Keating defines the boundaries of the various dioceses in a clockwise direction in accordance with mediaeval custom; his text must remain our sole authority for the delineation of the dioceses by the Synod of Raith Breasail; the Raith Breasail fathers laid down the boundaries of the dioceses of Ireland (A.D. 1110 or 1118). — See “The Synod of Raith Braesail” by the Rev. John MacErlean, S. J., Milltown Park, Dublin in Archivium Hibernicum, Vol. III, (1914), pp. 1-33.

                                                                  Murlough Bay

 

Murlough Bay

Torr Head

Torr Head

 

 

 

 

The word “Culfeightrin” means “the corner of strangers’; this could be a very appropriate derivation. As the colonization of Europe spread westwards from the Continent to what is now England, northwards to what is now Scotland and thence to what is now Ireland, it is probable that the first landing of settlers in this country took place in what is now the parish of Culfeightrin. See the O’Toole Planning Scheme for Ballycastle, (1944) p. 8. The ruins of the ancient parish church are situated in the townland of Churchfield, near Ballycastle. It is highly improbable that the church has been used as a place of worship since the sixteenth century; it was certainly a ruin in 1622 and, as far as is known, was never re-built. (For particulars concerning it see A Preliminary Survey of the Ancient Monuments of Northern Ireland, (1940), p. 12. As quite a few of the townlands in this parish contain antiquities — some of very considerable archaeological interest — the reader is strongly recommended to consult this survey of 1940 in relation to them. Generally speaking parishes appear to have been named after their churches, and not churches after their parishes, but in the case of Culfeightrin (and unlike Layd — See The Glynns, Vol. 8 (1980), p. 43) there is actually no townland that bears the parochial name. Moreover, it was customary in Celtic times to dedicate religious foundations under the invocation of living, rather than of deceased saints.

Townland Gaelic  Meaning
Acravally

 

Acra bhile The field of the ancient pagan tree. (Druidic ceremonies took place near certain large trees).
Altagore

 

Alt gabhair The height or cliff of the goats
Aughnaholle Acadh- na- holna The field of the fleeces
Aughnasillagh Acadh na saileach

 

The field of the willows
Ardaghmore or Glentop

 

Ard acadh mor

 

The great high field
Ballindam

 

Baile an dtam The townland of the plague
Ballinloughan

 

Baile an lochain

 

The townland of the chaff
Ballyberidagh Baile biorraidheach

 

The townland of the field of the osiers or saplings
Ballycleagh Baile claidhe Townland of the mound or rampart
Ballynagard

 

 Baile na gceard Townland of the workmen or masons
*Ballynaglough

 

*Baile na gcloch *Townland of the stone.

***This may refer to the huge standing stone which Hugh Boyd, the landlord of Ballycastle, took to build into his new harbour in 1743. The stone was so large that it required eight horses to draw it. It was built into the harbour along with another from the farm of Robert Woodside at Gortconny, thus fulfilling a prophecy made by the Black Nun of Bunamargy, Julia McQuillan that these two giant stones would one day come together.

Townland Gaelic  Meaning
Ballypatrick Baile Phadraig St. Patrick’s townland
Ballyreagh Baile riabhach Grey townland
Upper and Lower Ballyteerim Baile tirim Dry townland
Ballyvennaght Baile-bheannach Townland of the blessing
Ballyvoy Baile bhuidhe Yellow townland
Barmeen Barr min Smooth Top
Barnish Bearnas A gap
*Bunamargy

 

***(This is an early reference to Ballycastle’s fair or market)

*Bun na mairgeadh *The foot of the market
Townland Gaelic  Meaning
Brackney Breacnach Speckled place or place of trout.
Broughinlea Bruach an liath or Bruach an laoigh Little grey palace  or The palace of the calf
Broughmore Bruach mor Great palace
Carey Mill Cathair The seat of the King
*Castlepark *Cahir Righ **

**This was the site of a castle or cashel about one hundred yards south of the Culfeightrim Church of Ireland. It consisted of a circular fort about 15 yards in diameter and about 5 feet high situated on top of a small hill. The old name of the place was Cahir Righ — the seat of the King and it is from this that the district is named Carey.

Townland Gaelic  Meaning
Churchfield  or Magherintemple Maghera an teampull The field of the church
Coolaveely Cuil a bhile The corner of the ancient pagan tree
Coolnagoppage Cuil na gcopog The corner of the dockens
 Culranny Cuil raithne The corner of the ferns
*Corrymeelagh or
Corrymeela
*Cor na mbealach  or Cor meallach *The round hill of the pass or              Pleasant round hill.

***I have given the derivation of Corrymeela near Ballycastle as the hill of sweetness and the Corrymeela Community have further adapted it to mean the ‘hill of harmony’.

Townland Gaelic  Meaning
Craigbane Craig ban White rock
Craigfad Craig fada Long rock
*Cross *Cros *A market cross

***This may have been a market place in connection with Doonmore Fort.

Townland Gaelic  Meaning
Curragh Currach A marsh
Cushendun Cois abhainn duinn The foot of the brown river
Cusleake
(middle, north and south)
Cois leice The foot of the flagstone
Drumacullin Druim an cuilinn The hill ridge of the holly tree
Drumadoon Druim an duin The hill ridge of the fort

 

Drumahamman

 

Druim an chamain

 

The hill ridge of the bends (of the Carey river)
Drumahitt Druim an chait The hill ridge of the cat
Drumaridley Druim an riodaire The hill ridge of the rider
Drumaroan Druim an ruadhain The hill of the moorland
Drumnakeel Druim na cille The hill ridge of the church
Duncarbet Dun cearbaid

 

The fort of the chariots
*Dunacelter *Dun Ui Celtair *The fort of Keltair

 

***Keltair was a local chieftain and the old name from Downpatrick in Co. Down was Ratheceltair the fort or rath of Keltair. It is not known if the two Keltairs were related.

Townland Gaelic  Meaning
East Torr Tor A tower or tall round hill
Eglish

 

Eaglais A church
Farranmacallan Fearann Mhic Alainn McAllan’s lands
Farranmacarter Fearann Mhic Artair McArthur’s lands
Glenmakeeran Gleann na  caorthhainn The glen of the rowan trees or mountain ash
  Goodland

 

No explanation needed
Greenans Griana, A sunny spot – often a sun palace
Knockbrack

 

Cnoc breac Speckled Hill
Knockmacolusky

 

Cnoc na cuil loiscthe The hill of the burnt corner
*Ligadaughtan

 

*Lag a dtachtan *The hollow of the strangling

 

***possibly a sort of hangman’s hill

Townland Gaelic  Meaning
Magherindonnell

 

Maghera Domnaill The plain of the McDonnells
Tenaghts Cioch A breast. Tenaghts was a mispelling of Teaughs
Tervillin Tir buailean  The place of the little boolies.

*For explanation of the term ‘booley’ see Glynns Vol. 8

Torcorr Tor corr The tower-like round hill
Tornabodagh Tor na bodach The hill of the clown
Tornamoney Tor na monadh The hill of the bog
Tornaroan Tor na ruadhain The hill of the mooreland
Twenty acres No explanation needed
West Torr No explanation needed
Whitehouse No explanation needed

 

2 thoughts on “PLACE-NAMES IN THE PARISH OF CULFEIGHTRIN by Cahal Dallat

  1. I look forward to all your posts, and get a lot of enjoyment reading them. My great great grandfather on my grandmothers side. came from around Fairhead. His name was Alexander McBride, he came out to New Zealand in the early 1860 ,and settled in near Lake Wakatipu Queenstown. My Great Grandfather on my fathers side came from Milltown Westmeath,also around 1860 .His Name was Maurice Hyland. Once again thank you for your posts.
    Regards Lance Hyland. Hampden Otago NZ.

Leave a Reply