Placenamesni.orgthe history behind our place-names

Raffrey, County Down

Origin

Ir. Reachraidh ‘place by water / rugged place’

Background

The name Raffrey is closely related to that of Rathlin Island off the north coast and the island or peninsula of Rathlin or Raughlan on the southern shore of Lough Neagh (LNP 66).  Rathlin Island has been referred to from 630 AD and the name was earlier Rechru, genitive Rechrainn (PNI vii 282), so that r was the original and l a later development giving Rathlin and Raughlan.  The name is so old that its meaning is uncertain, possibly ‘place by water/rugged place’.  Gasaitéar na hÉireann suggests the modern Irish spelling Rafraidh for Raffrey, which represents the present pronunciation. However the historical spelling Ballyraghree suggests a ‘Reachraidh’ pronunciation, and the sound change to f is that which has generally happened in laugh, cough in English etc. since the 17th century and may have happened in fairly recent times. 

References

KM, 2009

Additional Information

Historical name form

Old FormRef. DateReference

Rath Fraidhe

1834cLuke Killen (OSNB) 36/56

Rafraidh

1989GÉ 147

Reachraigh

1999Cel. Ulst. Tds 13
Balliraffoorey1605CPR Jas I 73a
Ballyraffory1605Inq. Ult. (Down) $2 Jac. I
Rahere1625cRaven Map Clandeboye 78
Ballyraghree1636Inq. Ult. (Down) $75 Car. I
Rafry1645Inq. Ult. (Down) $104 Car. I
Balleraphere1650cInq. Ult. (Down) $109 Car. I
Kaffry1659cCensus 1659 89
Balleraffrie1661BSD 120
Raffree1661BSD 63
Raffery1745Map in poss. S. Crawford (OSNB) 36/56
Raffery1810Wm. Map (OSNB) 36/56
Raffry1830cGrand Jury Pres. (OSNB) 36/56
Barony
Castlereagh Upper
Parish
Killinchy
Parish in 1851
Killinchy
Townland
None
Place name ID
12350
Place name type
T