Placenamesni.orgthe history behind our place-names

Ballymagee, County Down


Ir. Baile Mhig Aodha ‘Magee’s townland’


It is significant that the surname Mag Aodha ‘Magee, MacGee’, which is described by Woulfe as ‘a very common surname in Ulster’, is not uncommon in the Ards; note the reference to ‘Cormock Mc Ghee’ of the Upper Ards in an early 17th-century grant (CPR Jas. I 72b 1605). As the townland had been a possession of the monastery of Bangor (cf. CPR Jas I 38a), the family would appear to have been ecclesiastical tenants in this instance.

Early references such as Ballinenoghue al. Ballmaguigh (Inq. Ult. (Down) §2 Jac I, 1605) may indicate variation between Baile Mhig Aodha and Baile Mhig Aoidh in Irish, the final element of the latter being pronounced with an 'i' vowel as opposed to 'u' (cf. Balloo and Balloo Lower, also in Bangor parish). However, it is also possible that the anglicised form has been influenced by the ubiquity of the spelling of the surname as Magee in English.


Hannan R. J. (1992): Place-Names of Northern Ireland vol. 2 p. 157; revised MOM

Additional Information

Historical name form

Old FormRef. DateReference
Ballenoghur1603Ex. Inq. (Dn) 2 Jac. I


1605CPR Jas I 72b
Ballenoghue1605CPR Jas I 38a
Ballinenoghue al. Ballmaguigh1605Inq. Ult. (Down) §2 Jac I
Ballinenoghwe al Ballinaghie al Ballimagwigh1620Ham. Patent [1620] xx
Bally-Naghie al Bally-Nenoghne al Ballymenaghne1623Ham. Copy Inq. [1623] xxx
Ba Naghue1625cRaven Map Clandeboye 11
Ba: Ma[c] Gee1625cRaven Map Clandeboye 13
Balle mac[c] Gee Hill1625cRaven Map Clandeboye 14
Ballenaghue1625cRaven Map Clandeboye 11
Ballynaghie or Ballenenoghnie or Ballemenaghne1630Ham. Patent [1630] xi
Bally Neghee1659cCensus 1659 94
Ballynogher1661BSD 90
Ballinagud al. Balynathud al. Ballynahugh1662Inq. Ult. (Down) §23 Car II
Ballenayue al. Ballenehue al. Balleneaghugh1664Inq. Ult. (Down) §104 Car. I
Ballynegee1681Ham. Copy Rental 110
Ballymagee1743Maxwell Rent Roll fol. 2
Ballymagee1810Wm. Map (OSNB) No. 54
Ballymagee1830cBnd. Sur. (OSNB) No. 54

Baile Mic Aodha "Magee's town"

1834cJ O'D (OSNB) No. 54
Ards Lower
Parish in 1851
Place name ID
Place name type