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Annahilt Parish (Iveagh portion), County Down


Ir. Eanach Eilte ‘marsh of the doe’


Village is 8km NW of Ballynahinch

bar: Iveagh Lower, Lower Half

The village of Annahilt is in the townland of BALLYCRUNE. The ruined church in the graveyard in the townland of GLEBE a short distance to the north-east appears to mark the site of the ancient parish church [(Molibae)Enaig Elti c.830].

Annahilt is the name of a parish and a village (located in the townland of Ballycrune).  The parish of Annahilt is mainly in the barony of Iveagh Lower, Lower Half, with just the townland of Cargacreevy in the barony of Kinelarty.  It may have been a significant place on the boundary of territory possessed by the early people known as the Cruithin in the early Middle Ages; this is suggested by the name of Ballycrune (Ir. Bealach Cruithean ‘pass of the Cruithin’), the townland in which Annahilt village is situated.  Later Annahilt parish lay between Iveagh (Kilwarlin) (i.e. Magennis territory) to the west and Kinelarty (i.e. McCartan territory) to the east.  Some of the townlands were listed twice, under both baronies. Cluntagh (Ballyclonty), Ballymurphy, Ballykeel [Lougherne], and Cargacreevy in the south and east of Annahilt also appear as townlands of Kinelarty barony in the early 17th century, for example in CPR Jas I 355b (in 1616), where they are enumerated among the lands of Phelim McCartan. 

The earliest reference to the name is in the Martyrology of Tallaght (c. 830) where the feast of St. Molioba of Annahilt (Molibae Enaig Elti) is marked on December 26th (Mart. Tal. p.1).  The saints’ genealogies (CSH 722.102) say of this St Molioba that he was of Dál nAraide (who pertained to the Cruithin).  Pádraig Ó Riain (2011, 396) equates him Libhear of Aghaboe (Co. Laois) who was originally from East Ulster.  The ruins of the former parish church of Annahilt stand in the graveyard in the townland of Glebe a short distance to the north-east of the village.  However, that church was consecrated in 1741 (ASCD 323) and it is unlikely that it marks the site of the ancient parish church.  It was suggested in 1814 by Shaw Mason (Par. Surv. 13) and in 1847 by Reeves (EA 316) that this church was surrounded by a fort, but the remains of shallow banks and ditches have been dismissed as "probably no more than an old cart track" (ASCD 150-1).  Furthermore, the shape of Glebe townland suggests that it was a late division of Aghnaleck.  The site of the medieval parish church therefore remains to be identified, but it is more likely to lie close to the settlement of Annahilt which gave name to the parish.


McKay, P. (2007): A Dictionary of Ulster Place-Names, p. 5, KM, 2009

Additional Information

other portion in Kinelarty; see also the village of Annahilt

Historical name form

Old FormRef. DateReference

Molibae Enaig Elti

0830cMart. Tal. Dec 26 p1

mo Liba (Eanaigh Eallta i n-Ultoibh)

1170cMart. Gorm. Dec 26 p246n

mo-Liba (i n-Uibh Eachach Uladh i n-Eanach Elte)

1170cMart. Gorm. Feb 18 p38n

Enach Elti, Molioba, ó

1630cMart. Don. Feb 18 p52

Enaigh elte, Molioba

1630cMart. Don. Dec 26 p348

o Atha na hilide

1808Neilson's Intro. 66

Eanach Eilte ""marsh of the doe""

1834cJ O'D (OSNB) No. 44

Eanach Eilte

1905Post-Sheanchas 21

Eanach Eilte

1989GÉ 102

Eanach Eilte "marsh of the doe"

1999Dict. Ulst. PN 5

Eanach Eilte "marsh of the doe"

1999Cel. Ulst. Tds 13
Enachailty1539Annates Ulst. 298
Enaghallty1546Reg. Dowdall $113 81
Annechelte1609Jas I to Dromore Cath. 314
Annaghilt1611CPR Jas I 190b
Anahilt1657Inq. Down (Reeves1) 87
Annahilt1661Trien. Visit. (Bramhall) 14
Annahilt Parish1661BSD 81
Anahilt1679Trien. Visit. (Boyle) 46
Anahilt1679Trien. Visit. (Boyle) 48
Annahilt1755Map of Down (OSNB) E 15
Annahilt or Eanachelte1802Dubourdieu's Map Dn (OSNB) E 15
Iveagh Lr., Lr. Half
Parish in 1851
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