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Gortgrib, County Down


Ir. Gort Cirb  ‘field of the (?)cut or trench’.


The name of this townland is recorded as Gort Cirb as early as c.830 in the Martyrology of Tallaght where it is associated with a saint called Molibba.  However, while the initial element is clearly gort ‘field’ the meaning of the final element is obscure. A tentative suggestion is that it represents a genitive form of cearb which means ‘a cut/a slash’ and that it could refer to a man-made trench or earthwork. Hogan's Onomasticon notes a place-name, Mag Cirbai (OG 515a), which may contain the same element but this name has not been located. The Northern Ireland Sites and Monuments Record records a ‘mound or enclosure’ in Gortgrib. The townland also contains the site of an ancient church, referred to in 1306 as Ecclesia de Corgrippe. The church stood close to St Patrick and Our Lady’s College and according to O’Laverty it was originally founded by St Patrick and placed in charge of a bishop called Findech.


P. McKay, 2009

Additional Information

Historical name form

Old FormRef. DateReference

Ghort Cirb, Mo Lioba ó

1170cMart. Gorm. Aug. 5 p150


1622Ulster Visit. Reeves 49

(?)Ghort chirp, Molioba ó

1630cMart. Don. Aug 5 p212

Ghuirt chirp, Moliobha

1630cMart. Don. Aug 5(t) p452

Gort Grib ""field of the mire""

1834cJ O'D (OSNB) E 124

Guirt Chirb, Molibba

0830cMart. Tal. Aug.6 p60
Corcrippe1306cEccles. Tax. 10
Balligortcribb1605Inq. Ult. (Down) $2 Jac I
Balligorterib1605CPR Jas I 73a
Corcrib1615Terrier (O'Laverty) 326
Corcrib1615Terrier (Reeves) 51
Gortgrib1615Terrier (O'Laverty) 319
Ballegortcrib1623Ham. Copy Inq. [1623] xlii/xli
Gortcrib1623Ham. Copy Inq. [1623] xxxiii
Portgrib1659cCensus 1659 88
Corcrib1661Trien. Visit. (Bramhall) 13
Gortgribb, Quarter of1661BSD 120
Cortcrib1745Map of Down (OSNB) E 124
Gortgrib1810Wm. Map (OSNB) E 124
Castlereagh Lower
Parish in 1851
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