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Brickland, County Down


Ir. Baile Bhricleann Bricriu’s townland’


The 17th-century spellings of the name of this townland are predominantly Ballybrickland, but there is a tendency to drop the prefix Baile when the Magennis castle is being referred to.  Presumably in Irish this could be Caisleán Bhricleann ‘Bricriu’s castle’ but, when this name was anglicized, ‘Brickland’ was understood as being a place-name itself.  Brickland is not an English place-name, as it might appear, but represents the genitive case of a rare Old Irish personal name Bricriu (a nasal stem), with later change of the second r to l (Joyce i 48).  Since the name is so uncommon it is likely that its occurrence here, and in the lake of Lough Brickland to the north-west of the townland, is intended to indicate the site of a tale in the Ulster Cycle, Fled Bricrenn ‘Bricriu’s Feast’, where Conchobar king of Ulster and his warriors were invited to feast in Bricriu the trouble-maker’s hall at Dún Rudraige ‘Rudraige’s hill-fort’ (FB §1).  This place-name has been connected with the site of the castle at Dundrum, where the inner bay and shore were Loch and Trácht Rudraige ‘Rudraige’s lough, strand’ (O’Laverty i 69).  However, although names involving their legendary ancestor Rudraige (later Rúraí, ‘Rory’) are connected with the tradition that Uí Echach and the related Dál nAraide were the true Ulaid (Kilwarlin, Edentiroory), there is no need for the place-names to be close together. The site of the castle here has been lost, but the townland of Brickland contains Water Hill Fort, a rath with internal ditch on top of a steep ridge 470 feet high, overlooking the lake of Lough Brickland and its crannog, and with a good view in all directions, particularly to the west into Co. Armagh (ASCD 154).


Muhr, K. (1996): Place-Names of Northern Ireland vol. 6 p. 27

Additional Information

Historical name form

Old FormRef. DateReference

Breac-chluain "spotted meadow or bog-land"

1834cJ O'D (OSNB) NB62

Baile Bricleann

1992PNI 27

Baile Bhricleann "Bricriu''s townland"

2002Culture NI PNN PMcK/JP
Bryklyn1595Mercator's Ire.
Ballybrickland1609CPR Jas I 394b
Brickland, the castle and town of1609CPR Jas I 394b
Ballybrickland, Arte Oge McBrien Magenis of1610CPR Jas I 195b
Ballibrickland (Loughbrickland)1611CPR Jas I 190a
the castle of Brickland1611CPR Jas I 190a
Ballibrickland1618CPR Jas I 409b
Brickland otherwise Loughbrickland, the castle of1618CPR Jas I 409b
Brickland al Loughbrickland al Ballybrickland1633Inq. Ult. (Down) $39 Car. I
Brickland al. Loughbrickland al. Ballebrickland1635Inq. Ult. (Down) $62 Car. I
Loghbrickland1659cCensus 1659 73
Brecklin1690cLamb Maps Downe = 14
Brecklin1690cLamb Maps Co. Downe
Tent of the Castle town and lands of Brickland and1692Rent Roll Down 11
Bricklan1744Harris Hist. 116
Brickland1747Vestry Reg. (OSNB) NB62
Brickland1755Map of Down (OSNB) NB62
Brickland1830Reg. Free. (OSNB) NB62
Brickland1830cBnd. Sur. (OSNB) NB62
Brickland1834cWm. Little (OSNB) NB62
Iveagh Up., Up. Half
Parish in 1851
Place name ID
Place name type