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Armaghbrague, County Armagh


Ir. Ard Mhacha Bréige ‘false Armagh'


The first part of this name is identical to the anglicised form of county name Armagh which derives from Ard Mhacha ‘height of Macha’. According to previous proposals, this component is then qualified by the element bréag ‘lie, untruth’ which is most likely interpreted as ‘false Armagh’.

Armaghbrague is the location of St.Patrick's first church in Armagh, now the site of an 18thcentury church & graveyard. Prior to the Christian era, Armaghbrague was the site of a pagan temple, named Ard Macha (Glancy 1956, 78). According to Glancy, St. Patrick would normally have erected a church in the vicinity of this pagan temple, but chose to build his cathedral church in Drumsaileach due to its proximity to Eamhain Macha, the 600 year seat of the kings of Ulster. Drumsaileach then became known as Ardsaileach (in accordance with the tendency of the period to prefix the name of a religious edifice with ard-). St. Patrick then apparently altered Ardsaileach to Ard Macha to secure, for his own foundation, the prestige previously attributed to the pagan temple. The name of the site of the pagan temple then became Ard Macha Breughaighe ‘the height of the false Macha’.

There is also a Dromorebrague (possibly Droim Mór Bréige ‘false Dromore’) in Co. Down.



Additional Information

Historical name form

Old FormRef. DateReference
Armaghbraga1609Esch. Co. Map
Armaghbregagh1609Church Lands Arm. 88
Armaghbreagh1613Rent Roll Arm. (PRONI) 6
Armaghbregie1614cCPR Jas I 273b
Armaghbregie1620cCPR Jas I 478a
Ardmaghbreaghie1633Inq. Ult. (Armagh) $20 Car. I
Armaghbregg1633Inq. Ult. (Armagh) $20 Car. I
~(?)go hArdm[acha] Bréige1644Cín Lae Ó M. $22,27
Ardmag Brege1657Inq. Arm. (Paterson) 219
Aramaghbegg1659Cen. Fews 1659 33
Ardmaghbreg1659Census 1659 33
Ardmaghbreg1661BSD 16
Ardmaghbreag1664HMR Murray (1941) 165
Ardmaghbreg1672cHib. Del. 28
Armaghbregagh1818cCPR Jas I 375a
Armagh Brague1830cBnd. Sur. (OSNB) A742/A144
Armaghbreague1830cRet. Tds Armstrong's Sur. (OSNB) A742/A144
Ardmacha Bre/ige ""Pseudo Armagh""1835cJ O'D (OSNB) A742/A144
~Armaghbreagh Ard-magh-bréag the leveret''s high plain''1838cDonaldson's Fews 98
~Armaghbreague the lying or pseudo Armagh1911Arm. Clergy 120
~Armaghbreag - Ard-mach''-bréugach, the lying or pseudo Armag1923Murray's Fews 107
Ard Mhacha Bréige ""false Armagh""2003NIPNP replies PMcK/PNíU
Ard Macha Bréige ""false Armagh""2004NIPNP replies KMtoArmTur
Fews Upper
Parish in 1851
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