Placenamesni.orgthe history behind our place-names

Magheramayo, County Down


Ir. Machaire Mhaigh Eo ‘level place / field of the yew plain’


This is an intriguing name as machaire and magh are nearly synonymous, so it is unusual to find them together in the same name.  However, machaire may mean here ‘a large field, cultivated ground’, a sense it often has in church townlands.  There are church ruins in Magheramayo, and a well called Tobberdonnagh Tobar Domhnaigh, the ‘well of Sunday’, at which stations were held on June 24th (EA 316).  It is likely that Maigh Eo once existed as an independent name in the area and that the prefix machaire was added later.  Yew trees, uncommon now, are quite often referred to in place-names: there is Newry abbey and parish with one Gaelic word for yew, iúr, and Clonoe parish in east Tyrone with the other one, as here: Cluain Eo ‘meadow of yew trees’. Maigh Eo is the same name as in Mayobridge and Mayo in Co. Down and in the name of Co. Mayo (Ó Muraíle 1985, 5, 72-5).


KM, 2009

Additional Information

Historical name form

Old FormRef. DateReference

Machaire Maighe Eo, ''smooth plain of the yews''

1834cJ O'D (OSNB) 65

Machaire Mháighiú "Mayo''s or May''s Plain''

1950cMooney 1950c 131

Machaire Mhaigh Eo 'level place of the plain of yew tree'

2000NIPNP replies PMcK/Orfhlaith

Machaire Mhaigh Eo ‘plain (or church lands) of the field of the yew tree’

2005NIPNP replies nov2005
Ballymagherienegee1609CPR Jas I 394b
Ballymagheryvigeo1611CPR Jas I 193a
Magherymoyoe1657cHib. Reg. Up. Iveagh
Magermay1659cCensus 1659 77
Magherymoyoe 1 towne1661BSD 118
Magheremoyoc1672cHib. Del. Down
Maghrymoyo1755Map of Down (OSNB) 65
Magheramayo1810Wm. Map (OSNB) 65
Maherymayo1830cBnd. Sur. (OSNB) 23
Magheramayo1834cJ O'D (OSNB) 65
Iveagh Up., Lr. Half
Parish in 1851
Place name ID
Place name type