Ardbrin, County Down
Ir. Ard Brain ‘Bran’s height’
Ardbrin is the largest townland in the parish of Annaclone, measuring 1008 acres and containing a graveyard which marks the site of the ancient parish church. Between 1633 and 1672 Lissardbrin and similar forms appear and the lios was probably the still-conspicuous Logan’s Forth on a southern spur of the Blue Hill. There is no evidence for a syllable between Ard- and -brin, and O’Donovan translated the name simply as ‘Bran’s hill or height’ (OSNB). Bran, an old word meaning ‘raven’, was more commonly used in Irish as a personal name. In 1834 Ardbrin contained the residence of O’Donovan’s Irish-speaking informant Mrs Con Magennis (OSL Dn 63), probably the large farmhouse of Connie Magennis and siblings, now derelict at Skateridge in the townland. However local people in the 1830s understood Ardbrin as ‘called from a family of name Byrne long resident in it’ (OSNB). Byrne is an anglicization of the surname Ó Broin, of Leinster origin but subsequently widespread (MacLysaght 1957, 68-9), which was well-known in the area. In 1444 John O’Brynd was rector of Magheradrool (Swanzy’s Dromore), in 1619 there was Edmond O’Brine in Co Down (CPR Jas I 413b). A name spelt MacBrin or MacBrien was also known in Co. Down and was also further anglicized as Burns or Byrne (Bell 1988, 26). The surname with either mac or ó seems to have been used by the same family, who had a long connection with the church in Co. Down. In 1427 they provided the erenagh of church lands in Lenadergin Tullylish parish (Reg. Swayne 73), and many had become churchmen in the 15th and 16th centuries. In 1609 members of the family held the church townlands of Ballintaggart in Aghaderg, and Tulliorior in Garvaghy adjoining this parish. The name Ardbrin could have begun as Ard Uí Bhroin ‘Ó Broin’s or ‘Byrne’s height’, with loss of the middle syllable, but more likely local people understood it as this because of their familiarity with the surname.
ReferencesMuhr, K. (1996): Place-Names of Northern Ireland vol. 6 p. 63
Contains part of the village of Annaclone
Historical name form
|Old Form||Ref. Date||Reference|
(?) Ballyilanbegg + Balleaghan
|1635||Inq. Ult. (Down) $62 Car. I|
Ard Broinn "Altitudo Branni"
|1834||OSL 1909 edn xxi 63|
Ard Brain "the heights of Byrne"
|1834c||J O'D (OSNB) E18.172|
Ard Broin "Bran's hill or height"
|1834c||J O'D (OSNB) E18.172|
"Bran is a raven, and it was formerly a favourite name for men."
|1913||Joyce ii 158|
Ardbrin "Bran's height or Byrne's height"
|1913||Joyce iii 41|
|Ardbrin||1609||CPR Jas I 395a|
|Arbrin Ardbrin||1611||CPR Jas I 191a|
|Ardbrin||1611||CPR Jas I 191a|
|Ballylissardbryn||1633||Inq. Ult. (Down) $39 Car. I|
|Lipardbrenn||1657c||Hib. Reg. Up. Iveagh|
|Lisard brin||1659c||Census 1659 75|
|Lippardbren||1672c||Hib. Del. Down|
|Ardburin||1806||Tombstone (OSNB) E18.172|
|Ballyardbrin||1810||Wm. Map (OSNB) E18.172|
|Ardbrin||1811||Tombstone (OSNB) E18.172|
|Ardbrin sometimes Ballyardbrin||1834||OSM xii 16a|
|Church Bog in Ardbrin||1834||OSM xii 14a,16b|
|Ard Brain||1992||PNI 63|
- Iveagh Up., Up. Half
- Parish in 1851
- Place name ID
- Place name type