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Newry, County Armagh

Origin

Ir. An tIúr ‘the yew tree’

Background

This name is particularly well-documented in native Irish sources where the earliest form seems to have been Iubhar Cinn Tráchta (modern Iúr Cinn Tráchta).  Harris translates this as ‘the flourishing Head of a Yew-Tree’ (Harris Hist. 90) but it is doubtless synonymous with the later form Iubhar Cinn Trágha (Iúr Cinn Trá) ‘the yew of the head of the strand’.  It was also called an tIubhar (an tIúr) ‘the yew’. 

The anglicized forms of the name must, however, come from an Iubhraigh (modern an Iúraigh), an oblique form of an Iubhrach (modern an Iúrach) ‘the grove of yew trees’.  This form, despite the fact that the anglicized form of the name derives from it, does not, with one possible exception, appear in Irish-language sources.  In an early 15th-century poem by Tuathal Ó hUiginn, Niall Garbh Ó Domhnaill, Lord of Tír Chonaill, is portrayed coming ‘ón Iobhraidh’ (from an Iúrach) after a raid on Baile Uí Bruin (Ad. Dána 85 §26) but, unfortunately, this instance of the name cannot be certainly connected to Newry.  Indeed, an Iúrach was the name of the stronghold of Rughraidhe mac Ardghail mac Mahon who is probably the chieftain whose death is recorded in the Annals of the Four Masters under the year 1446, and it is very probably this house, rather than the settlement at Newry, which was attacked by Niall Garbh (Gwynn Cat. 208).

According to Reeves, Newry was sometimes latinized Ivorium and Nevoracum but it is more frequently called Viride Lignum (EA 116n).  Atkinson is doubtless correct in concluding that Viride Lignum, which he translates as ‘Green Tree’, refers to the evergreen character of the yews associated with the monastery at Newry (Atkinson's Dromore 7).  The Cistercians were fond of giving their monasteries clever, often paradoxical, Latin names such as (de) Melle Fonte ‘honey spring’ (Mellifont) and de Petra Fertile ‘fertile rock’ (Corcomroe), and Viride Lignum represents a further example of their ingenuity.

Newry was granted city status in 2002 as part of Queen Elizabeth II's Golden Jubilee celebrations. 

References

Toner, G. (1992): Place-Names of Northern Ireland vol. I p. 3-5

Additional Information

T., 1851 Census; City 2002; Armagh portion

Historical name form

Old FormRef. DateReference
~Iobhar Chind Trachta1089AFM ii 936
Ibor Cinn Tráchta1100cSerg. CC $39
Nivorc''yntracta1157cNewry Char. (Mon. Ang.) 1134
Nyvorcyntracta1157cNewry Char. (Flanagan) 1
Nyvorcyntracta1157cNewry Char. (EA) 117
~Iubhair Chind Trachta, abb manach1160AFM ii 1136
~Iubhar Cinntrechta1162AFM ii 1146
~co hIubhar Chinn Choiche1236AFM iii 290
co h-Iobhar Cinn Coice, mhic Neachtain, fris a rai1280cCMR II 276
Abbas de Viridi Ligno1306cEccles. Tax. 116
de Viridi Ligno1370Reg. Sweteman $43
Cuillend gilla na hIubhraighe13thcComp. CC OCC $52
Viridiligno, de1414Cal. Papal Letters 421 et pass.
Viridi Ligno1427cReg. Swayne 71
Viridi Ligno1428Reg. Swayne 114
Viridi Ligno1435cReg. Swayne 172
~ón Iobhraidh1439cAd. Dána 85 $26
Viride Lignum1454Reg. Fleming $262
Viridiligno1478Annates Ulst. 290
Viridiligno, Mon. de1478cAnnates Ulst. 290n
~an Iubhair, abb manach1526AFM v 1380
Vicarius de Viridi Ligno1542cReg. Dowdall $129 275
Viridi Ligno, Vicarius de1546Reg. Dowdall $113 81
de Viridi ligno1549Inq. (Mon. Hib.) 286
the town of Newry1549Inq. (Mon. Hib.) 286
the townland of Newry1549Inq. (Mon. Hib.) 286
Le Newery1552CPR Ed. VI iv 387
Nowery (x2)1583cFiants Eliz. $4327
the Newrye1583cFiants Eliz. $4327
Newry1587Ulster Map 1587
Newry1590Ulster Map 1580c
the Nury1591Fiants Eliz. $5552
~an Iubhair, do mharasccal1593AFM vi 1940
Newry1595Mercator's Ulst.
~go hIobhar Chinn Tragha1595AFM vi 1966
~i nIubhar Cinntragha1596AFM vi 1998
~don Iubhar1597AFM vi 2024
~don Iubhar1598AFM vi 2060
~maruscál an Iubhair1598AFM vi 2060
the Newrye1599Fiants Eliz. $6324
~go hIubhar Chinn Trágha1599AFM vi 2110
d''Iubhar Chinnchoidhce mic Neachtain risin abar Iu1600cC. Conghail Cláir. 30
the Newerie1601Fiants Eliz. $6557
~isin Iubhar1601AFM vi 2258
Newrie1603CPR Jas I 10a,12a,30a
Newrie1603CPR Jas I 35b
Newry1603CPR Jas I 28a
Newrii1603cBodley's Lecale 75
Newrie1604CPR Jas I 59a
Newrie1606CPR Jas I 90b
Newrie1606CPR Jas I 86a
the Newrie1606CPR Jas I 96a
Newry1607CPR Jas I 102b
~Iobhar Cinn Choiche mic Nechtain1616cB. Aodha Ruaidh 174
~co hIubhar Cind Tragha1616cB. Aodha Ruaidh 166
~don Iobhar1616cB. Aodha Ruaidh 174
~gusan Iobhar1616cB. Aodha Ruaidh 184
~ind Iobhar Cind Tragha1616cB. Aodha Ruaidh 128
Newrie1620cInq. Ult. (Down) 5,7,9,15 Jac. I
the Newrie (x2)1622Ulster Visit. Reeves 29
the Newry1625cInq. Ult. (Down) $15 Jac. I
Newry1627Inq. Ult. (Down) $6 Car. I
Newry1635Inq. Ult. (Down) $51 Car. I
Newry1638Inq. Ult. (Down) $84 Car. I
the Newry (x2)1657Inq. Down (Reeves1) 101
Nury, Lordshipp of1657cHib. Reg. Up. Iveagh
Newry (Lordship & Parish)1661BSD 130
Newrye, Castle Towne + Manor of1661BSD 130
~go hIobhar1680cLCABuidhe 246 $97
~Ó Iubhar na n-inbher nglan1680cLCABuidhe 246 $101
~ón Iubhar1680cLCABuidhe 50 $5
~Na Júr ""of the Yew-Trees""1744Harris Hist. 90
~Inbher Chinn Tragha ""the river at the head of the1819Stuart's Armagh 99
~Na Yur1819Stuart's Armagh 99
~Iúbhar cínn tráighe ''yew at head of the strand''1834cOSL 1909 edn 47
~Iubhar Chinn Trágha (an t-Iubhar)1905Post-Sheanchas 102
~An tIúr1969AGBP 118
~An tIúr1988Éire Thuaidh
~An tIúr1989GÉ 119
An tIúir (An Iúraigh "" the yew (place of yews)""1999Cel. Ulst. Tds 14
~An tIúr ""the yew tree""1999Dict. Ulst. PN 116
~Iúr Cinn Trá ""yew tree at the head of the strand""1999Dict. Ulst. PN 116
An tI£r2000Gateway to Ulster Map
An tIúr ""the yew tree""2001Arm. Terr, People + Place-names 319
An tIúr ""the yew tree""2002Culture NI PNN PMcK/JP
Barony
Orior Upper
Parish
Newry
Parish in 1851
Newry
Townland
Ballinlare/Drumalane/Lisdrumgullion/Lisdrumliska
Place name ID
14767
Place name type
M:V:Y