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Sketrick Island, County Down


perhaps Ir. Oileán Scathdeirge 'red-pointed island'


Sketrick Island is attached by a causeway to the townland of Ballydorn in the parish of Killinchy.  However, it is not in the parish of Killinchy.  It is one of several islands on the west side of Strangford Lough which belong to the parish of Ardkeen, the core of which is on the east shore of the lough in Upper Ards.

The form Caislén Sgath Deircce in the Annals of the Four Masters (iv 1066, AD 1470) was referred to by John O'Donovan in the OSNB and formed the basis of his translation 'red shadow or shelter'.  However, the pronunciation, with stress on the initial syllable would not tend to support this origin.  It also appears that the vowel in Sketrick, Scatrick etc. is a short a vowel; it is also spelt with a short a in AFM .   One possibility might be a compound of scoth, which is listed in DIL (s.v. 2 scoth) as 'point edge' + dearg 'red', thus 'red-pointed' or 'red-edged island', but this is a tentative suggestion.  Indeed, one also wonders, in the light of the earliest attested form Scatra (Charts Nendrum, ed. William Reeves, EA 193), if the Gaelic form represents a reinterpretation of an underlying non-Gaelic name.  More research is required here.

For fairly full descriptions of the castle, see ASCD 250-2 and Sav. Ulst. 334-5.  For the island itself, cf. "Sketrick Island, arable and inhabited and connected with the mainland by a causeway... There are the ruins of a castle on the east side of the island which was built to defend the ... of the island as well as for a stronghold.  Belongs to the Parish of Ardkeen". OSNB (Killinchy par. p. 36).


Hughes, A. J. (1992): Place-Names of Northern Ireland vol. 2 pp. 25-6; with additions PT, 2012

Additional Information

Listed as an island in 1851 Census

Historical name form

Old FormRef. DateReference

Sgathdergi, caisdel

1470AU iii 228

Ballygaven otherwise Scatrick otherwise Tillyneagh otherwise Tullynoagh

1624CPR Jas I 587b

castr'' & insul'' de Skaterick

1662Inq. Ult. (Down) $19 Car. II

Sgáth Dearg "Red Shadow or Shelter" AFM 1470

1834cJ O'D (OSNB) E45

Sgath Deirg

1834cJ O'D (OSNB) 36/56

Scathdeirg perhaps from ON Skothryggr "humpback ridge"

1999Dict. Ulst. PN 132
Scatra1178EA 193
Skaterig1595Mercator's Ulst.
Balligavan1605Inq. Ult. (Down) $1 Jac. I
Skatericke in the Dufferin1605CPR Jas I 73b
Skatterick in le Duffrin1605Inq. Ult. (Down) $2 Jac. I
Seatetrick1610Speed's Ulster
Scatrick, the Castle of1615Terrier (Reeves) 55
Ballygaban al. Scatriek-iland1617Inq. Ult. (Down) $5 Jac. I
Iland-skatrick1617Inq. Ult. (Down) $5 Jac. I
Scatrick, the castle and island of1617CPR Jas I 340b
the castle and land of Skaterick1617Inq. Ult. (Down) $5 Jac. I
Ballegavan al. Scatterick1623Ham. Copy Inq. [1623] xlvii
Satterick [sic.]1623Ham. Copy Inq. [1623] xxx
Ilandscatrick1624CPR Jas I 587b
Scatericks1625cRaven Map Clandeboye 55
Skaterick (Mc Savage)1625cRaven Map Clandeboye 60
Ballegavin1645Inq. Ult. (Down) $104 Car. I c
Scetrick, the Castle of1655Sav. Ulst. 192
Scatrick, Castle called1683Descr. Ards 35
Scatrick1744Harris Hist. (OSNB) 36/56
Sketrick1779Sav. Ulst. 265
Scatrick1810Wm. Map (OSNB) 36/56
Scatrick Island1810Wm. Map (OSNB) No. 44
Sketrick Island1830cBnd. Sur. (OSNB) No. 44
Sketrick1834cMontgomery Grant Chas I (OSNB) 36/56MSS
Ards Upper
Parish in 1851
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