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Rathdrumgran, County Armagh


of uncertain origin


There is a Lisdrumgran (Lios Droim gCrann ‘fort of the ridge of trees’) in Co. Leitrim (, which might suggest that the form here is Rath Droim gCrann, also ‘fort of the ridge of trees’. According to NISMR notes, the site of the fort of Rathdrumgran was formerly planted with trees, which would support this form. However this form cannot account for the additional syllable which is attested as -ny and -na in the historical forms. We might consider the element crannach ‘wooded’ (Ó Dónaill) in the form Ráth Drom Crannaigh ‘fort of the wooded ridge’, however with this form we need to assume that the devoiced [k] consonant of crannach has been replaced with its voiced counterpart [g] as part of the anglicisation process.

While the first two elements are without doubt ráth ‘fort’ and droim ‘ridge’, which refer to a platform rath which sits on the summit of a prominent drumlin (NISMR), Ó Máinnín (NIPNP notes, 1997) suggests alternative original forms for the second qualifying element.

Ó Máinnín provides the form Ráth Drom Gráinne ‘fort of Gráinne’s ridge’. While male personal names far outnumber female personal names in Irish toponymy, the name Gráinne is a prominent name in Irish story. Gráinne is the daughter of Cormac mac Airt and was betrothed to Finn and eloped with Diarmait úa Duibhne.  The name retained popularity in the later middle ages and remained common in the north until the nineteenth century when it was generally anglicised Grace (Ó Corráin & Maguire 1981, 114). There are a number of references to Gráinne in Irish place-names, most notably in the minor names Leaba Dhiarmada agus Gráinne ‘Dermot & Grania's Bed’ in Cos Limerick, Kerry and Cork ( The form gráinne also appears a number of other place names:Graniadoo (Gráinne Dhubh), in Co. Donegal; Graniamore (Gráinne Mór) in Co. Sligo; Graniaroe (Gráinne Rua) in Co. Sligo; Ballygrania (Béal Átha Gráinne) in Co. Sligo, and Drumgrania (Droim Gráinne) in Co. Letrim. However the absence of translations for these names makes it difficult if they refer to the personal name Gráinne, or to the element gráinne ‘grain’. In any case, the consistent anglicisation of Gráinne as -grania casts doubt on its suitability as an original component of Rathdrumgran.

The second form form Ráth Droma Ghreanaigh ‘fort of the ridge of the spearpoint’ might make reference to some antiquity discovered at the site of the fort. The element greanach (gen. greanaigh)‘gravel, gravelly soil’ would also yield the same form and could be interpreted as ‘fort of the gravelly ridge’.

Ó Máinnín’s third proposed form Ráth Drom Gréine ‘fort of the sunny ridge’ is also possible. There is a Rathnagreany (Rath na Gréine ‘fort of the sun’) in Co. Limerick and a Sunfort  (Lios na Gréine ’fort of the sun’) in Co. Cork. Similarly, the form Cnoc Gréine is anglicised Knockgrean in Co. Limerick and Knockgreany in Co. Wexford (



Additional Information

Historical name form

Old FormRef. DateReference
Rathanmgenny1609Esch. Co. Map 5.28
Rathdromgreny1610CPR Jas I 166b
Rathdromgreainy 1 balliboe1637Inq. Ult. (Armagh) $23 Car. I
Rathdromgilly & Mullansallagh, vil'' & ter'' de1640Inq. Ult. (Armagh) $40 Car. I
(?)Lathimulcrany1657Inq. Arm. (Paterson) 232
Roderam Greenay1657Inq. Arm. (Paterson) 231
Roderamgreny1659cCensus 1659 38
Rathdromgreny 60 acr''1661Inq. Ult. (Armagh) $6 Car. II
Rothrumgrany1664HMR Murray (1941) 186
Rathdrumgranna1830cBnd. Sur. (OSNB) A154 56
Rathdrumgrana1835Land agent (OSNB) A154 56
Rathdrumgrand1835Custom of Country (OSNB) A154 56
~Rath druim'' gráine ""Fort of Grania''s ridge""1835J O'D (OSNB) A154 56
Rathdrumgrand1835cOSM vol. 1 p. 82
Rathdrumgranna Fort [see Rathdrumgrand]1835cOSM vol. 1 p. 78
Oneilland West
Parish in 1851
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