Placenamesni.orgthe history behind our place-names

Ballymena, County Antrim

Origin

Ir. An Baile Meánach ‘the middle townland or settlement’

Background

The name of the townland of Ballymena is recorded as Ballymannagh in 1624, as Ballymeanagh in 1639 and as Ballymena in 1780 and the derivation of the place-name is obviously An Baile Meánach ‘the middle townland or settlement’. An Baile Meánach is a common townland name. Apart from the well-known town (formerly townland) of Ballymena there is a townland named Ballymena Little in the Co. Antrim parish of Ballynure and six Ulster townlands named Ballymenagh, all of which derive their names from Irish An Baile Meánach ‘the middle townland’. In the case of this townland, it is possible that it was named from its central position in the parish of Skerry though the exact significance of the element ‘middle’ in these place-names is often obscure.

References

Pat McKay

Additional Information

Historical name form

Old FormRef. DateReference
Ballymannagh1624CPR Jas I 587a
Ballimenock1657cHib. Reg. Antrim
Ballimenagh1672cHib. Del. Antrim
Ballymena1780Lendrick Map
~Baile Meadhónach ""middletown""1832cJ O'D (OSNB) B36 B44
~Baile-meadhonach ""middle town""1869Joyce i 53
Baile Meadhonach ""Middle Town""1934Magill's Antrim 67
~An Baile Meánach ""the middle townland/farmstead""1999Dict. Ulst. PN 15
An Baile Méanach ""the middle town[land]""2002HMC replies HMCmar02
Barony
Antrim Lower
Parish
Skerry
Parish in 1851
Skerry
Townland
None
Place name ID
16522
Place name type
T