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Ballyquintin, County Down


Ir. Baile Chuintín ‘Quintin’s townland’; perhaps earlier Eng. Quintonton


Forms the southernmost tip of the Ards Peninsula

par: Witter bar: Ards Upper

It is evident from the OSNB form that O’Donovan sees the -quintin part of this name as representing an Irish name Cú Mhaighe, ‘hound of (the) plain’.  Reeves (EA 25, n. v) discusses the local tradition of a St. Quintin, whom he associates with Irish Cú Mhaighe, and points out that locals associated this Quintin with the Upper Ards place-names Ballyquintin, Quintin Bay, Lough Cowey and Templecowey. Cú Mhaighe was fairly common as a secular name in early Irish sources and while one can fairly safely propose an ecclesiastical association between Cú Mhaighe and the local names Templecowey and Cowey’s (or Cooey’s) Well, in this parish, and Lough Cowey in Ardkeen; we are faced with the difficulty of having -cowey in these latter three instances yet -quintin in the townland of Ballyquintin. Reaney (1958, 264-5) lists a British surname Quinton from 1176 AD onwards and suggests that the Norman surname in Britain may have been from ‘Saint-Quentin (La Manche) or, possibly, Saint-Quentin-en-Tourmont (Somme)’ and that both of these derive from a Latin name Quintinus ‘fifth’, ‘popular in France from the cult of St. Quentin of Amiens [a third-century martyr] and brought to England by the Normans’.  On the name Quintin in Ireland one may note the references to the 16th-century bishops Quintin O’Higgin, Clonamacnoise, and Quintin O’Quigley, Dromore d.1538, (see Mediev. Prov. Arm. 284, 285).  Therefore, bearing in mind the Anglo-Norman source for Quintin as a name in Ireland, it is possible that rather than being associated with a saint Cú Mhaighe, the townland of Balyquintin may in fact owe its origins to an Anglo-Norman Quintonton, along the lines of other place-names in the Ards, such as Felipton > Ballyphilip, Galgyllton > Ballygalgell > Ballygalget, etc.  


Hughes A. J. (1992): Place-Names of Northern Ireland vol. 2 p. 127; McKay, P. (2007) A Dictionary of Ulster Place-Names, p.17;

Additional Information

N.B. reassigned from Witter to Ballyphilip

Historical name form

Old FormRef. DateReference
Ballynacontowne1559Sav. Ulst. 175
Ballyncontowne1559Sav. Ulst. 301
Ballyncontome1571Fiants Eliz. $2090
Ballyconton1588Fiants Eliz. $5264
Candan Point1595Mercator's Ulst.
Ballenecontain1620Inq. Ult. (Down) $9 Jac. I
Ballineconton1620Inq. Ult. (Down) $9 Jac. I
Ballyconton1625Inq. Ult. (Down) $14 Jac. I
Balleconton1627Inq. Ult. (Down) $10 Car. I
Ballyconton1628Sav. Ulst. 368
Ballycontow1637cSav. Ulst. 373
Ballequinteene1645Inq. Ult. (Down) $104 Car. I
Ballyquintine1659cCensus 1659 91
Ballyquinten1661BSD 84
Ballyquintane1663Sub. Roll Down 282
Ballyquintin1810Wm. Map (OSNB) E.34
Ballyquintin1830cBnd. Sur. (OSNB) E.34
Ballyquinton1832Reg. Free. (OSNB) E.34
Ballyquintin1834cMr Nugent (OSNB) E.34
~Baile Conmhaighe ""Quintin''s town""1834cJ O'D (OSNB) E.34
~Baile Chuintín ""Quintin''s townland""1999Dict. Ulst. PN 17
Ards Upper
Parish in 1851
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