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Ringdufferin, County Down


Ir. Rinn ‘promontory’ + Duifrian Dufferin


The current name appears to be Rinn ‘promontory’ plus the district name Dufferin, An Duifrian ‘the black third’.  Ringdufferin peninsula is not as long as Ringhaddy but in both cases the tip of the peninsula is now called Castle Island. There is another early 17th-century reference to the castle, but on Ringdufferin no trace survives above ground (ASCD 263; Strangford p.113).

The castle on the peninsula of Ringdufferin may be shown on the map of Down in 1580c a mile further south, which has been elsewhere been dated to c. 1590 (grid ref. J 5356, sh. 21; Strangford 103, 105, 113).  It was named as castr’ et vil’ do Rindoffrin al’ Meylerton in the list of Dufferin lands held by Patrick White (Inquisitions of Ulster 1605 §1 Jac I).  The alias Meylerton is likely to be an Anglo-Norman name, ‘Meyler’s town’Meyler is the Welsh personal name Meilyr, gaelicised as Maoilir.  In 1205 Maelir mac Maelir seized Limerick, and Meyler then became the surname of ‘an old Wexford family’ (AFM, Woulfe).


Additional Information

Historical name form

Old FormRef. DateReference
Meylerton1605Inq. Ult. (Down) $1 Jac. I
Rindoffrin al. Meylerton1605Inq. Ult. (Down) $1 Jac. I
Rindoffrin, castr'' & vil de1605Inq. Ult. (Down) $1 Jac. I
Randuffrin otherwise Melarton otherwise Meylerton1624CPR Jas I 587b
Ringdufrin1625cRaven Map Clandeboye 59
Kinduffrin al. Mylestone1645Inq. Ult. (Down) $104 Car. I
Randuffrane1659cCensus 1659 84
Ringedufferrin1661BSD 63
Rinduffrin al. Mylerton1662Inq. Ult. (Down) $23 Car. II
ringdifference1682Sav. Ulst. 254
Parish in 1851
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