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Lisburn, County Down


of uncertain origin


The Lis- element in Lisburn may derive from Lisnagarvy, the name of a townland which is incorporated in the modern city centre and whose name goes back to Ir. Lios na gCearrbhach ‘fort of the gamesters or gamblers’. The origin of the element burn in Lisburn is obscure. The oft-quoted suggestion that it refers to the burning of the town in the 1641 Rebellion must be regarded as extremely implausible. Several forts are recorded in the area, including one on Prospect Hill, the site of Friends' School.  Lisburn was granted city status in 2002 as part of Queen Elizabeth II's Golden Jubilee celebrations.  The city centre is in Co. Antrim, but a substantial portion of Lisburn City Council area is south-east of the Lagan in Co. Down.


P. McKay (1999): A Dictionary of Ulster Place-Names, p. 95; with additions PT, 2012

Additional Information

T. 1851, Urb. Dist. 1961; City 2002; other portion in Co. Antrim.

Historical name form

Old FormRef. DateReference
Lisnagarvy Brige1659cCensus 1659 88
Lisbourne Parish & Towne1669HMR Ant. 89
Lisburne1672cHib. Del. Antrim
Lisnagarve = Lisborn1690cLamb Maps Co. Downe
""the burned Lis which was Lisnagarvy""1833Carlisle Top. Dict. (OSNB) 44 B4 (Down)
Lisburn (anciently Lisnagarvy)1833J O'D (OSNB) 44 B4 (Down)
The burned Lios which was Lisnagarvey1834cJ O'D (OSNB) No. 44
~Li[o]s na cC[e]arrmhach1854cMeath (McDonnell) 37
Lios-na-gcearrbhach ""the fort of the gamblers""1875Joyce ii 121
~Lios na gCearrbhach1989GÉ 245
Lios + Scots burn? "" fort of the stream""?1999Cel. Ulst. Tds 19
Lios na gCearrbhach ""fort of the gamesters or gamblers''1999Dict. Ulst. PN 95
Lios na gCearrbhach ""fort of the gamesters or gamblers''1999Dict. Ulst. PN 95
Lios ""fort"" from ""Lisnagarvy""2002Culture NI PNN PMcK/JP
Lios ""fort"" from ""Lisnagarvy""2002Culture NI PNN PMcK/JP
Castlereagh Upper
Parish in 1851
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