Portavogie, County Down
Ir. Port an Bhogaigh ‘port or place of the boggy area’
On E coast of Ards Peninsula, 11km NE of Portaferry
par: St Andrewsal. Ballyhalbert bar: Ards Upper
Many 17th-century documents refer to the presence of a bog here. We can also note the modern road name Bog Road, and the name Bogge, marked a little north-west of Portavogie on Mercator's 1595 map of Ulster, roughly straddling the boundary between the parishes of Ballyhalbert and Inishargy, may indicate a significant marshy district at that time. However, the extensive bog spoken of in the 17th century has apparently been exhausted in recent centuries as the Ordnance Survey Memoir of 1834 remarks: ‘The bogs are not of very good extent’ (OSM vii 84). An Bogach may therefore refer either to a bog within the townland, or alternatively to a larger district in the vicinity of the Blackstaff River. This latter possibility would be consistent with the Blackstaff being marked as a significant boundary on early maps, such as Bartlett's Ulster (1603) or Norden's Ireland (1610), on which it completely cuts off Little Ards which lies to the south, making it an island.
As to the interpretation of Ir. port, it may mean either ‘port’ or ‘place, spot, locality’ (DIL), or even port móna ‘turf-bank’ (Ó Dónaill). Port an Bhogaigh, then, could mean ‘port of the bog’, or merely ‘bank/place of the bog’. If 'port' or 'harbour' is the relevant sense, it would seem to apply to a different landing-place from the modern harbour of Portavogie (for which the original name appears to be Portavaud) as this is not marked on the first edition of the Ordnance Survey 6" map surveyed in the 1830s. John's Port, approximately 1km further north in the townland of Portavogie may have been the location of the earlier harbour in the vicinity. There is no settlement or landing-place evident in the townland on the Raven's map of the Clandeboye estate (1625). A rabbit warren is indicated in the south-west where the harbour is located today.
The historical evidence suggests that the townland of Port an Bhogaigh was also known by another Irish name, i.e. Mullach Mór ‘large hill or summit’.
ReferencesHughes A. J. (1992): Place-Names of Northern Ireland vol. 2 p. 108; with additions PT, 2013; McKay, P. (2007): A Dictionary of Ulster Place-Names, p. 120
Town, 1961 census
Historical name form
|Old Form||Ref. Date||Reference|
Portauowge [large lettering] illeg. Gortavogo (?) [note in smaller script]
|1625c||Raven Map Clandeboye|
Port a Bhogaigh "Bank of the Bog''
|1834c||J O'D (OSNB) E174|
Port an Bhogaigh
Port an Bhogaigh "place of the bog"
|1992||PNI ii 108-9 (A.J. Hughes)|
Port an Bhogaigh "harbour of the bog"
|1999||Dict. Ulst. PN 120|
|Ballimulloghmore||1605||CPR Jas I 73a|
|Portaboggagh, the bog of||1605||CPR Jas I 73b|
|lez Magies de Portabogagh||1605||Inq. Ult. (Down) $2 Jac. I|
|Balleportevogie al. Mulloghmore||1623||Ham. Copy Inq.  xxxiv;xlvi|
|Balleportevogie al. Mullogmore||1623||Ham. Copy Inq.  xlii|
|Portabogagh||1623||Ham. Copy Inq.  xxx|
|Portovogie||1623||Ham. Copy Inq.  xxxii|
|Balleportivogie al. Mullaghmore||1645||Inq. Ult. (Down) $104 Car. I|
|Portevoggy||1659c||Census 1659 92|
|Balleportavogie al. Mullaghmore||1662||Inq. Ult. (Down) $23 Car. II|
|Portavogy||1681||Ham. Copy Rental 108|
|Portavogie||1810||Wm. Map (OSNB) E42 no. 100|
|Portavogie||1830c||Tythes Applot. (OSNB) E42 no. 100|
|Portavogie||1830c||Bnd. Sur. (OSNB) E42 no. 100|
|Portavogie||1830c||High Const. Applot. (OSNB) E42 no. 100|
- Ards Upper
- St. Andrews alias Ballyhalbert
- Parish in 1851
- St. Andrews alias Ballyhalbert
- Place name ID
- Place name type