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Strangford Lough, County Down


Old Norse Strangr Fjörðr; Ir. Loch Cuan, 'sea-inlet of harbours'


The name Strangford originally applies to a water-feature rather than a settlement and is derived from Old Norse strangr fjörðr ‘strong sea-inlet’. The element strangr ‘strong’ in the place-name refers to the strength of the currents in the narrow entrance to the lough, between Strangford and Portaferry. The word lough was added later in English to distinguish it from the townlands and village of the same name.  However, during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period the lough was better known by its Irish name Loch Cuan ‘sea-inlet of bays/havens’, which is documented (in the Old Irish form Loch Cúan) as early as the year c.830 (Mart. Tal. 60). The village of Strangford is known in Irish as Baile Loch Cuan ‘town on Strangford Lough’.


McKay, P. (1999): A Dictionary of Ulster Place-Names, p. 137; with additions PT, 2012.

Additional Information

Historical name form

Old FormRef. DateReference

Loch Cúan

0800-900c O.Ir.Cath MT $79

Loch Cúan, for

0830cMart. Tal. Aug. 6 p60

Loch Cúan, for

0830cFél. Óeng. June 23 p158

Loch Cuan, Cath for

0874AFM i 520

Locha Cuan, do Ghallaibh

0876AFM i 522

Loch Cuan, occ

0877AU (Mac Airt) 332

Loch Cuan

0922AFM ii 610

Locha Cuan, do Ghallaibh

0924AFM ii 614

Locha Cuan, co nGallaibh

0931AFM ii 628

Loch Cuan, for

1050cLebor na Cert l. 1311

Loch Cuan

1050cLebor na Cert 1311

Loch Cuan, co

1100cMet. Dinds. iv 262

Loch curchach Cuan

1100cMet. Dinds. iv 146

Loch Cuan

1100c O.Ir.TBDD l.1465

Loch Cuan, oc

1125cCSH p. 179

Locha Cuan, for innsibh

1149AFM ii 1088

Loch Cúan, for

1170cMart. Tal. Aug. 5 p150

Lochwene, the water called

1203Charts Nendrum 193

Loch Cuan, ag

1260Aeidhe ma chroidhe p. 158

Loughquoon near Srangford

1515L/P. Hen. VIII ii 268

Loch Cuan, ar

1534ALC ii 283

Loch Cuan, for

1534Freeman, M. 1944 v 1417

Strangforde, rivol'' de

1549Ex. Inq. (Dn) 3 Ed. VI 3

Stranford haven

1567Goghe's Map

L. Conne

1570Nowel's Ire. (1)

lough Coine

1570Fiants Eliz. $1530

L. Coney

1590Jobson's Ulster (TCD)

Lough Conn

1590Dartmouth Map 5 5

L Coyn

1591Hondius Map

L. Coyn

1595Mercator's Ire.

Strangford hauen

1595Mercator's Ulst.

Lough Coane by the river

1602CSP Ire. 315

Lo Cone

1603Bartlett Maps (Esch. Co. Maps) 1


1603CPR Jas I 14b


1605Inq. Ult. (Down) $2 Jac. I


1605CPR Jas I 14a


1605Inq. Ult. (Down) $1 Jac. I

Lough Cone

1609Boazio's Map (NG)

Lo Cone

1610Speed's Ireland

Lough Cone

1610Speed's Ulster

Lough Cone

1610Speed's Antrim & Down

Strangford haven

1610Speed's Ulster


1617CPR Jas I 326b

the water of Loughcon otherwise Loughcoyne, and all other rivers and waters flowing into the river and bay of Strangford

1617CPR Jas I 337a

the water of Loughdowne otherwise Loughcoine flowing into the river or bay of Strangford

1617CPR Jas I 336b

Loughcoine, the ports and creeks of

1619CPR Jas I 460b


1620Inq. Ult. (Down) $12 Jac. I


1621CPR Jas I 511a

Loughcoyne, the lough called

1623Ham. Copy Inq. [1623] xxx

Lough Cone

1625Raven Map Clandeboye 50

for Loch cuan, i nUltoibh, Duinsech, ogh

1630cMart. Don. Aug 5 p210

Loghcone al'' Loughcone

1633Inq. Ult. (Down) $63 Car.I

Loughdowne al''

1633Inq. Ult. (Down) $63 Car.I


1644Inq. Ult. (Down) $104 Car. I

Lake Cuan

1645cMacCana's Itinerary 50

Loghcoine, l''extremité ...

1662Inq. Ult. (Down) $23 Car. II

Loghdowne al'' Loghcoine

1662Inq. Ult. (Down) $22 Car. II

ó thraighe Loch Cuan

1680cDonnellan MSS 38-9

Loch Cuain

1680cLCABuidhe p. 178, l. 181

Loch Cuan

1680cDonnellan MSS 38

do ghríbh ... Lacha Cuan (i.e. to the griffin of Loch Cuan)

1680cLCABuidhe p. 174, l. 67

um Loch Cuain

1680cLCABuidhe p. 247, l. 123

Loch Cuan

1687cLCABuidhe p. 144, l. 166

du lac de Cone

1690Sav. Ards 126

Strangford L

1690cLamb Maps

Lough Coan

1701OSM vii 9

Lough Cone

1729JRSAI xliv 56

Lough Coyn or the lake of Strangford

1744Harris Hist. 26, 152


1744Harris Hist. 36

the Lake of Strangford

1744Harris Hist. 36, 42, 74, 76

Strangford lake, now more commonly called Strangford Lough

1837cOSM vii 9

Loch Cuan

1840cMac Bionaid 12: 24

Loch Cuan

1989GÉ 127

Loch Cuan "" lough of the harbours""

1999Cel. Ulst. Tds 8

Loch Cuan ""sea-inlet of bays or havens""

1999Dict. Ulst. PN 137

Strang Fjor-r "" the strong fjord""

1999Cel. Ulst. Tds 8

O.N. Strangrfjorthr ""strong sea-inlet""

1999Dict. Ulst. PN 137
Strongeford, the Sea of1657Inq. Down (Reeves1) 117
Strongford Sea1657Inq. Down (Reeves1) 145
Loughcoan, the River or watter of1680Indenture (Winkfield) 1
Parish in 1851
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