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Belfast, County Antrim


Ir. Béal Feirste ‘mouth of the sand-bank ford’


par: Shankill/Knockbreda/Holywood bar: Belfast Upper/Castlereagh Lower/Castlereagh Upper

The ‘sand-bank ford’ was across the mouth of the river Lagan. The little river Farset which flows below High Street and enters the Lagan near this point has also been named from the ford (fearsaid, genitive feirste). The centre of Belfast and the greater part of the modern city is west of the Lagan in the barony of Belfast Upper in Co. Antrim. Most computerised systems automatically pre-enter "Co. Antrim" as the county for any Belfast City postcode, due to the use of 'postal counties' by Royal Mail until 1996, but the part of the city which lies east of the Lagan is in Co. Down, shared between the baronies of Castlereagh Upper and Castlereagh Lower.


McKay, P. (1999): A Dictionary of Ulster Place-Names, p. 21; with additions PT, 2012.

Additional Information

Co. Antrim part of city (largest part incl. centre), other part in Co. Down; see also the baronies of Belfast Upper and Belfast Lower.

Historical name form

Old FormRef. DateReference

Cath Feirtsi etir Ulta 7 Cruithne

0665AFM i 278n

Fertsi, bellum

0668AU (Mac Airt) 138

[cum cappela de] Vado

1306Eccles. Tax. 6

apud Le Ford, manium in quo est unum castrum prostratum per guerram Johannis de Logan

1333Inq. Ed. III (EA) 7 n.q

Beil-Feirsdi, fo caislen

1476AU iii 258

beoil feirste, fo caislén

1476AFM iv 1100

Beil-Fersdi, caisdel

1486AU iii 306

Beil-Fersdi, caisdel

1489AU iii 340

bheoil feirsde, caislén

1489AFM iv 1168

co bel feirsde

1489AFM iv 1168

bheóil feirsde, caislén

1503AFM v 1270

Beóil-Fersti, dá'r'ghab caislen

1512AU iii 498

ag bél feirste

1537AFM v 1440

ag bél feirste

1552AFM v 1524

i mbél feirste

1552AFM v 1524

Vado, Ecclesiae Albae de

1609Jas I to Connor Cath. 262

Bela Fearsad "a town at the mouth of a river"

1812Stat. Sur. Ant. (Dub.) ii 500

Bela Fearsad "a town at the mouth of a river"

1812Stat. Sur. Ant. (Dub.) ii 500

Bel-feirsde "the fort of the farset"

1869Joyce i 361

the Ford [7 carucates]

1913 (English abstract of Latin inquisition of 1333)Inq. Earldom Ulster 139

Béal Feirste

1989GÉ 189

Béal Feirste

1989GÉ 189

Béal Feirste "approach to sandbank/river Farset"

1999Cel. Ulst. Tds 13

Béal Feirste "mouth of the sand-bank ford"

1999Dict. Ulst. PN 21
Belfast1595Mercator's Ulst.
Ballycullcallaghy1604CPR Jas I 49a
Bealfast1604CPR Jas I 49a
Bealfaste1604CPR Jas I 48b
Belfast1604CPR Jas I 48b
Ballirecoolegalgie1605Inq. Ant. (DK) 48
Ballycoollcallagh1605Inq. Ant. (DK) 47
Belfast1605Inq. Ant. (DK) 47,48
Belfast1605CPR Jas I 73b,78a
Castle Belfast1605Inq. Ant. (DK) 50
Belfast1606CPR Jas I 89a
Belfast1607CPR Jas I 110b
Ballycoolecallagie1608CPR Jas I 120a
Ballyrecoolegalgie1608CPR Jas I 120a
Belfast1608CPR Jas I 120a,121b
Belfastt1608CPR Jas I 122b
Belfast1610Speed's Ulster
Belfast1611CPR Jas I 216b
Belfast1612CPR Jas I 246a
Belfast1613CPR Jas I 161a
Belfast1613CPR Jas I 249a,255b
Belfast1615CPR Jas I 307a
Belfast1615CPR Jas I 286a,292b
Belfast1616CPR Jas I 303a,306b
Belfast1617CPR Jas I 324a
Belfast1619CPR Jas I 430b
Belfast1620Inq. Ult. (Antrim) Jac.I $3
Belfast1620CPR Jas I 483b
Ballycoolecalagie1621Inq. Ult. (Antrim) Jac.I $7
Ballycoolecalagie1621CPR Jas I 523b
Ballycoolegalg61621CPR Jas I 523b
Ballycullcallagy1621Inq. Ult. (Antrim) Jac.I $7
Ballyrecoolegalgie1621Inq. Ult. (Antrim) $7 Jac.I
Ballyrecoolegalgie1621Inq. Ult. (Antrim) Jac.I $7
Belfast1621CPR Jas I 525a,531a
Belfast1621Inq. Ult. (Antrim) Jac.I $7
Belfast1621CPR Jas I 520a,523a,524b
Belfast1621Inq. Ult. (Antrim) Jac.I $6,7
Bellfaste1621Inq. Ult. (Antrim) Jac.I $7
Belfast1623CPR Jas I 571a
Belfast1625Inq. Ult. (Antrim) Car.I $2
Bellfast1625Inq. Ult. (Antrim) Car.I $2
Belfast1632Inq. Ult. (Antrim) CarlI $14.16
Bealfast1633Inq. Ult. (Antrim) Car.I $22
Belfast1636Inq. Ult. (Antrim) Car.I $117
Belfast1655Civ. Surv. x $61a,62,62a
Belfast1655Civ. Surv. x $63ab,64a
Belfaste Towne1657cHib. Reg. Belfast
Belfast Towne1659cCensus 1659 8
Towne and Quarters of Belfast1659cCensus 1659 8
Belfast1661Inq. Ult. (Antrim) Car.II $1
Bellfast1667ASE 130b
Belfast1672cHib. Del. Antrim
Belfast1780Lendrick Map
Bealfarst1847EA 183
Belferside1847EA 183
Belfast Upper
Parish in 1851
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