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Clarkill, County Down


Ir. Clarchoill ‘level wood’


Despite the spelling Clarchoile in 1655, which might suggest the second element was caol ‘narrow, a narrow stream’, and could refer to the Clarkill River on the east, most of the evidence supports John O'Donovan’s interpretation as ‘level wood’ (Ballyneclarchill, 1609).  Joyce states generally that the name Clarkill, of which there are several, comes from Clarchoill meaning ‘level wood’ (Joyce i 428).  Clarkill is a big townland, containing Castlewellan Lake, Castle and wooded demesne, as well as heights called Slievenaslat and Curlett’s Mountain.  However the name may originate from some relatively level spot within it.  It appears on Petty’s map as Clarekeele alias Clarghill (gh as in lough), but the spelling Clarkhill with an -h- on gravestones from the late 18th century may come from a re-interpretation of the second element as the English word hill.


KM, 2009

Additional Information

Historical name form

Old FormRef. DateReference

Clár Coill, ''level wood''

1834cOSNB Inf. 142

Clárchoill ""level wood""

2002HMC replies HMCmar02
Ballyneclarchill alias Ballycharchill1609CPR Jas I 394b
Clarchoile1635Inq. Ult. (Down) $55 Car. I
Clarekeele als Clarghill1657cHib. Reg. Up. Iveagh
Clarkill1659cCensus 1659 77
Collerkill1659cCensus 1659 76
Clareekeele al Clarghill1661BSD 106
Clarekeele1672cHib. Del. Down
Clarkill1767Ld Annesly's Map (OSNB) 142
Clarkhill1786cGravestone Inscrip. (Down) ix 37
Clarkhill1796cGravestone Inscrip. (Down) ix 32
Clarkill1810Wm. Map (OSNB) 142
Clarkill1834cJ O'D (OSNB) 142
Clarkhill1847cGravestone Inscrip. (Down) ix 4
Clarkhill1850cGravestone Inscrip. (Down) ix 5
Iveagh Up., Lr. Half
Parish in 1851
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