Placenamesni.orgthe history behind our place-names

Rathcunningham, County Down

Origin

Ir. Ráth Cheanndubháin ‘Canavan’s fort’

Background

The name appears to begin ráth ‘ring-fort’ and there is a ringfort on a low hill in the east of the townland.  The Raven maps c.1625 began a tradition of spelling this townland name as if it contained the Scottish surname Cunningham, originally a district name in Ayrshire.  Cunningham is used to replace some Irish surnames, one example being Mac Dhuinneagáin in NW Down.  In this case the name seems to be Canavan, as a personal name Ceanndubhán meaning ‘black-headed’, as in Ballerathconevan 1605.  From the later 17th century there were thus two versions of the name, as in Ballyrathconvan al. Ballyrathconigan, (CPR Jas I 587b), still known to the local informants Old Hennan and others (OSNB).   

References

KM, 2009

Additional Information

Historical name form

Old FormRef. DateReference
Ballyrathconevan1605Inq. Ult. (Fermanagh) $1 Jac.I
Ballyrathconevan1605Inq. Ult. (Down) $1 Jac. I
Ballyrathconevan othw Ballyrathconigan (the Duffri1624CPR Jas I 587b
Iland Roskiningham1625cRaven Map Clandeboye 53
Raphkiningham1625cRaven Map Clandeboye 64
Raphkinningham1625cRaven Map Clandeboye 59, 63
Ballerachonevan al. Ballerathconegan1644Inq. Ult. (Fermanagh) $104 Car.I
Ballerachconevan al.Ballerathconegan1645Inq. Ult. (Down) $104 Car. I b
Raph Cunigham1659cCensus 1659 84
Rath Conningham1661BSD 63
Ballerathconeva al. Ballerathconegan1662Inq. Ult. (Fermanagh) $23 Car.II
Ballyrathconvan al. Ballyrathconigan587bOld Hennan and others (OSNB) 380
Barony
Dufferin
Parish
Killyleagh
Parish in 1851
Killyleagh
Townland
None
Place name ID
17333
Place name type
T