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Ballymartin, County Down


Ir. Baile Mhic Giolla Mhártain ‘Gilmartin’s townland’


4km NE of Kilkeel

par: Kilkeel bar: Mourne

Mac Giolla Mhártain or Gilmartin is the name of an old Ulster family, one time chiefs of an area called Cinéal Fearadhaigh, centred on the Clogher valley in Co. Tyrone (Woulfe 1923, 376, 688).  They are thought to have been a branch of the O’Neills (MacLysaght 1964, 94).  I have no record of the family in this area but the surname Martin is recorded as being one of the ‘Principall Irish Names’ in the baronies of Lower Iveagh, Castlereagh and Ards in 1659 (Census 81, 90, 95).  It is now among the ten most common names in Co. Down, but many of these Martins may be of Scottish or English origin (Bell 1988, 187-8).


info. from Ó Mainnín, M. (1992): Place-Names of Northern Ireland vol. 3 p. 26; McKay, P. (2007) A Dictionary of Ulster Place-Names, p.15;

Additional Information

Historical name form

Old FormRef. DateReference
Balruickgyllemartyn1540Rentals & Surveys Down 75
Ballymicgyll Mertyn1552CPR Ed. VI vii 389
Ballymirgillmertin1607CPR Jas I 103a
Ballymygillmertine1607CPR Jas I 495a
Ballemcmertin al. Ballimcgillmertin1613CPR Jas I 247a
Ballemarten al. Ballemacgenefin1625cInq. Ult. (Down) $15 Jac. I
Bally McMartin1659cCensus 1659 82
Ballymc Martin1661BSD 131
Ballymartin1663Sub. Roll Down 279
Ballemartin1688Rent Roll Morne 3
Ballymartin1773Ir. Wills Index iv 174
Ballymartin1790Ir. Wills Index iv 172
Ballymartin1790Reg. Deeds abstracts iii $303
Belemartin1801Ir. Wills Index iv 168
Ballymartin1810Wm. Map (OSNB) E206
Ballymartin1830cBnd. Sur. (OSNB) E206
~Baile Mhairtín ""Martin''s town""1834cOSNB: gen. sources E206
~Baile Máirtín1905Post-Sheanchas 31
~Baile Mhic Giolla Mhártain1969AGBP 113
~Baile Mhic Giolla Mhártain1988Éire Thuaidh
~Baile Mhic Giolla Mhártain1989GÉ 21
~Baile Mhic Giolla Mhártain ""Martin''s townland""1999Dict. Ulst. PN 15
Parish in 1851
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