Magheraknock, County Down
Ir. Machaire Cnoic ‘the plain of the hill’
The earliest reference to this townland is Ballyknock, Ir. Baile Cnoic ‘townland of the hill’, in 1616. The word machaire ‘plain’ appears c.1655 in ‘Mashucknock in the barony of Kinelearty’ in a description of the bounds of Lower Iveagh (Civ. Sur. x §73). This spelling should be understood as a misreading of *Maghurknock (with long s for g, and c for r in handwriting of the period). John O’Donovan seems to be correct in that there is no evidence for the definite article in the original name.
In the south of Magheraknock is a prominent hill-top fort, ‘on a steep-sided drumlin’ rising to 494 feet (ASCD 147-8). This position might be seen as guarding the Kinelarty area from anyone crossing the watershed of the rivers which form the boundaries with Iveagh and Castlereagh. The fort looks important enough to have had a name of its own, and may be represented by the alias name Liscreely (‘ringfort of ?’) in 1634. Machaire, most often used with early churches, seems here to indicate the precinct of the fort.
Historical name form
|Old Form||Ref. Date||Reference|
Machaire Cnuic ""plain of the hill""
|1834c||J O'D (OSNB) No. 16|
|1834c||OSNB: gen. sources No. 16|
|Maghery Knock||1755||Map of Down (OSNB) No. 16|
|Maheraknock||1810||Wm. Map (OSNB) No. 16|
- Parish in 1851
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