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Ballyweely, County Down


perhaps Ir. Baile Mhaoile ‘townland of the bare or round hill/summit’


It is possible that the local interpretation of the name of this townland as Baile mhaoile ‘town of the bald or flat round hill’ (OSNB) is correct and that grammatically Baile Mhaoile is an oblique form of the name where the lenition of Maoile is to be attributed to dative usage.  Alternatively, one could suggest that the second element derives from a surname.  Mooney has suggested a form Baile Uí Mhaolaodha ‘Miley’s or Malley’s town’ but, although the surname Ó Maolaodha is attested in Ulster (Woulfe 1923, 604), there is nothing to associate it with this part of Co. Down.  MacLysaght (1982, 161) points out that one Rory O’Moyle is listed in a 16th-century muster of the Magennises, but he dismisses this solitary example of O’Moyle as a clerical error for the epithet maol ‘bald’ (anglicized ‘moyle’). 


Ó Mainní­n, M. (1993): Place-Names of Northern Ireland vol. 3 p. 82

Additional Information

Historical name form

Old FormRef. DateReference
Ballymoylee1609CPR Jas I 395b
Balliwilie1611CPR Jas I 189a
Ballymoylee1612CPR Jas I 235a
Ballymoile1629Inq. Ult. (Down) $13 Car. I
Ballyvely1639Inq. Ult. (Down) $85 Car. I
Ballyweely1639Inq. Ult. (Down) $85 Car. I
Ballymill, 1/2 towne1659cCensus 1659 76
Stang[ballywelly]1692Rent Roll Down 9
Ballywilly1810Wm. Map (OSNB) E207
Ballywielly1821Porter's Map (OSNB) E207
Ballywilly1830cBnd. Sur. (OSNB) E207
~Baile mhaoile ""town of the bald or flat round hil1834cOSNB: gen. sources E207
~(?)Baile Mhaoile1950cMooney 1950c 59
~(?)Baile Uí Mhaolaodha1950cMooney 1950c 59
Iveagh Up., Lr. Half
Parish in 1851
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Place name type