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Ballynanny, County Down


Ir. Bealach an Eanaigh ‘routeway of the marsh’


Ballynanny is to be identified with the early 17th-century name Ballaghanaghtymacart (CPR Jas I 394b), Ballyhannaghmiacarte (CPR Jas I 190a), Ballaghmaccarte (Inq. Ult. (Down) §7 Jac. I), which was part of Shankill and held by Ever McArte McRowrie Magennis.  The final element of these forms seems to be Mac Airt ‘of the sons of Art’, possibly a surname, ‘of the MacArts’.  Ever (Eimhear) Magennis was himself called Mac Airt ‘son of Art’, but Art was the name of his father as given in the Magennis genealogy (TCD Gens §270).  This Art seems too recent to appear in the place-name, but most of the Magennis pedigrees go back to an ancestor called Art an Lámhaigh, and the name Art was in frequent use among the various branches.  Thus Mac Airt probably refers to a group of the Magennises.  The surname MacArt does not appear in MacLysaght (Woulfe 1923, 306), but there is a reference to a 17th-century McArte in Co Down (CPR Jas I 28a), and others in Antrim and Tyrone.  The early forms seem to indicate that the first element of Ballynanny is either Baile ‘townland’ or Bealach ‘routeway’ (anglicized Ballagh-), with the more common element baile predominant later.  The townland contains, on the old road from Tullintanvally, the Sentry Box crossroads at which the B-road from Banbridge to Rathfriland crosses the minor road to Loughbrickland, and the ancient bealach is likely to have been the Loughbrickland road.  The spelling a in the third syllable, confirmed by the modern pronunciation, suggests eanach ‘marsh’ for the second element.  There is some marsh by the stream which forms the northern boundary.  It looks as if the name Eanach Mhic Airt ‘MacArt’s marsh’ already existed when Bealach was prefixed to it, as eanach (spelt -an(n)agh-) is apparently not inflected.  The full 17th-century name may even have been Bealach Eanach Tí Mhic Airt ‘routeway through the marsh of MacArt's house’ as suggested by the earliest spelling (Ballaghanaghtymacart 1609).  When the name was shortened to Baile an Eanaigh, ‘townland of the marsh’,  eanach (-any) appears in its correct genitive form.


Muhr, K. (1996): Place-Names of Northern Ireland vol. 6 p. 67

Additional Information

Historical name form

Old FormRef. DateReference

(?) Ballynary

1661?DS (Mooney) 23

Baile an Eanaigh "Town of the marsh"

1834cJ O'D (OSNB) E18.172

Bealach Aonaigh Mc Airt

1950cMooney 1950c 24

Eanach Mac Airt

1950cMooney 1950c 24

Bealach an Eanaigh

1992PNI 67
Ballaghanaghtymacart1609CPR Jas I 394b
Ballaghannaghmiacart1611CPR Jas I 190a
Ballaghamaccarte1618Inq. Ult. (Down) $7 Jac. I
Ballinary1657cHib. Reg. Up. Iveagh
Ballynany1659cCensus 1659 75
Ballynary1661BSD 117
B''nary1672cHib. Del. Down
Ballynany1692Rent Roll Down 12
Ballynanny1809Tombstone (OSNB) E18.13
Ballynaney1810Wm. Map (OSNB) E18.172
Ballinany1824Tombstone (OSNB) E18.13
Iveagh Up., Up. Half
Parish in 1851
Place name ID
Place name type