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Aldfreck, County Antrim


Of uncertain origin


The first element of this place name appears to be alt (or its variant form allt), which in place-name contexts is usually translated as ‘height’ (Flanagan & Flanagan 1981, 14), but can also be interpreted as ‘steep sided glen’ or ‘cliff’ ( The most likely interpretation here is cliff given the townland's coastal location. The eastern boundary of Aldfreck is marked by the cliffs at Old mill Bay (OSNI). In the forms from the early 17thcentury, this element appears to have been preceded by baile ‘townland’.

Alt might then be qualified by a personal name in a form such as Alt Fráecháin (or Alt Fraocháin) featuring Fráechán (or Fraochán), which is derived from fráech ‘heather’ (Ó Corráin & Maguire 1981, 106).

The second element, might also be fraic, which is a corruption of the Irish element breac ‘speckled’ and is anglicised similarly in Leitir Fraic ‘speckled hillside’ in Co. Galway ( In the early forms Alfrackamon, Alfrakamon, Ballyalfrackomon (1605), Ballyalfrackaman, Alfrackaman (1608),  the component Alt Bhreac ‘speckled cliff’ might be qualified by mún ‘weeds’ in the form Alt Bhreac an Múin ‘speckled cliff of the weeds’, or by a personal name such as Ámann, which appears in the place-name Ballaman (Baile Ámainn ‘Ámann’s townland), such a form would appear as Alt Bhreac Ámainn ‘Ámann’s speckled cliff’.

Note also the similarity with the townland name of Deffrick in Co. Antrim, the origin of which is unclear.


Additional Information

Historical name form

Old FormRef. DateReference
Alfrackine (Dalway)1603CPR Jas I 7a
Alfrackamon in Braden Iland, town of (bnds M''morne)1605CPR Jas I 76b
Alfrakamon (bnds Tuogh of Braden Iland)1605Inq. Ant. (DK) 48
Ballyalfrackomon, townland of (in Braden Iland)1605Inq. Ant. (DK) 48
Alfrackaman, lands of (Dalway, bnds)1608CPR Jas I 125b
Ballyalfrackaman1608CPR Jas I 125b
Allfrackyn1615CPR Jas I 278a
Ardfraclam1617CPR Jas I 339a
Allsrackan1627Inq. Ult. (Antrim) Car.I $3
Alfrackyn1639Inq. Ult. (Antrim) Car.I $131
Old Freckna1780Lendrick Map
~All Freichme ""cliff of the shields""1827J O'D (OSNB) A18
Allfrackyn (name mentioned in old deeds)1830OSM xxvi 82b
Salt Hole ... in the townland of Aldfreck (Sbndpar1835OSM xxvi 84b
""the glen of Altfrackyn"" (McDonnellxChichester15971840OSM xxvi 107b
Altfrackyn, romantic glen of... strongly marked1840OSM xxvi 88a
Altfrackyn, romantic little glen of/ now spelled A1840OSM xxvi 94b
Glen of Altfrackyn (den of O''Haghians, leap of EOH1840OSM xxvi 115
Glen of Altfrackyn = Old Mill Glen.. in td Redhall1840OSM xxvi 115a
Townland of Aldfreck (SaltHole stream>Old MillGlen1840OSM xxvi 89b
allt fraochán ""steep-sided glen of the heath- or2001HMC replies HMCsched
Belfast Lower
Parish in 1851
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