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Lisleen, County Down


Ir. Lios Lín ‘fort of (the) flax’


The earliest recorded spelling of Lisleen is Ballilissline in 1605 and the name is recorded as Lisleyn in 1623 and as Ballelisleene in 1644. The most satisfactory interpretation of the place-name appears to be Lios Lín ‘fort of (the) flax’, as suggested by John O’Donovan in the Ordnance Survey Name Book of c.1834. The Ordnance Survey Memoir records the presence of a flax mill in the townland in 1837 and it also remarks that ‘the cultivation of flax appears to have been more attended to in the parish of Comber than in any other parish in the county and the soil is well cultivated for it (OSM vii 30, 41). According to Joyce (ii 328), linen made from flax was manufactured in Ireland from the earliest times and the element líon ‘flax’ is quite common in place-names. Examples are Coolaleen in Limerick (Cúil an Lín ‘corner of the flax’), Crockaleen in Fermanagh (Cnoc an Lín ‘hill of the flax’) and Killyleen in Monaghan (Coill an Lín ‘wood of the flax’, L. Log. Mhuineacháin 13). There is now no trace or record of a fort in the townland.


P. McKay, 2009

Additional Information

Historical name form

Old FormRef. DateReference

Lios Lín ""fort of the flax""

1834cJ O'D (OSNB) E 19

Lios-lín ""fort of flax""

1913Joyce iii 476
Ballilissline1605Inq. Ult. (Down) $2 Jac. I
Ballelislein1620Ham. Patent [1620] xx
(?)Lisneyne1623Ham. Copy Inq. [1623] xlv
Lisleyn1623Ham. Copy Inq. [1623] xxxii
Balbelisleyne1630Ham. Patent [1630] xii
Ballelisleyne1630Ham. Patent [1630] xiii
Ballelisleene1645Inq. Ult. (Down) $104 Car. I
Lisleene1659cCensus 1659 86
Lissleene1661BSD 129
Lishlin1663Sub. Roll Down 285
Lisleen1745Map of Down (OSNB) E 19
Lissleen1810Wm. Map (OSNB) E 19
Lisleen1830cBnd. Sur. (OSNB) E 19
Castlereagh Lower
Parish in 1851
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