Placenamesni.orgthe history behind our place-names

Ringmackilroy, County Down


Ir. Rinn Mhic Giolla Ruaidh ‘McIlroy’s point’


The name of the townland of Ringmackilroy is clearly derived from Rinn Mhic Giolla Ruaidh ‘MacIlroy’s point’.  Rinn is a common element in the place-names of Co. Down.  It occurs initially in ten townland names, three of which are in the parish of Donaghmore outside Newry.  The surname MacIlroy can be of local or Scottish origin (Bell 1988, 165-6).  Woulfe states that it was common in Cos Down, Cavan, Roscommon and Offaly in the 16th century, although our Ringmackilroy first appears in the records in the middle of the 17th century.  The surname is particularly associated with Co. Fermanagh where the name is preserved in the townland of Ballymackilroy in the parish of Aghalurcher (Woulfe 1923, 379).  There is also a Ballymackilroy in Errigal Keerogue in Tyrone and a Ballymacilroy in Drummaul, Co. Antrim (Census 1871).  It seems that Portyneile (1) was an earlier name for this townland.  It appears to derive from the Irish Port Uí Néill ‘O'Neill's port’, or possibly even Port an Aoil ‘port of the limestone’.

It has been suggested by both Mooney (1950, p. 53) and Laoide (Sgéalaidhe Óirghiall 152) that Rinn Mhic Giolla Ruaidh, anglicized Ringmackilroy, is the old Irish name for Warrenpoint.  This is because the Irish element rinn ‘a point’ clearly refers to the same topographical feature as -point in Warrenpoint. The modern urban district is virtually co-extensive with the townland of Ringmackilroy but Warrenpoint was never referred to as Rinn Mhic Giolla Ruaidh by the last generations of Irish speakers in the area.  O’Donovan recorded the form Pointe an Bháirínigh ‘Warren’s Point’ from Oyne McStay in 1834 whereas Irish speakers in Omeath at the beginning of the century simply referred to it as An Púinte or An Pointe and An Pointe is the official Irish name of the town. 


Ó Mainnín, M. (1992): Place-Names of Northern Ireland vol. I p. 165

Additional Information

Note that the parish was named Warrenspoint in the 1851 Census, and later renamed Warrenpoint.

Historical name form

Old FormRef. DateReference

Rinn mhic Ghilruaidhe

1834cOSNB: gen. sources E42 no. 100

Rinn mhic Giolla ruaidh ""MacGilroy''s point""

1834cOSNB Inf. E42 no. 100

Rinn Mhic Giolla Ruaidh

1905Post-Sheanchas 123

Rinn Mhic Ghiolla Ruaidh `MacIlroy''s point''

1950cMooney 1950c 53

Rinn Mhic Giolla Rua ""MacElroy''s point or peninsula"

1999Dict. Ulst. PN 145

poss. Port Uí Néill ""O''Neill''s Port""

2004HMC replies HMCmar04

poss. Port an Aoil ""port of the lime""

2004HMC replies HMCmar04
Portyneile1570CSP Ire. 435
Portynele1570Fiants Eliz. $1609
Ballyportineale1609CPR Jas I 395b
Ballyport-Ineale1612CPR Jas I 235a
Ballyporteinele1629Inq. Ult. (Down) $13 Car. I
Ballyporteneale1639Inq. Ult. (Down) $85 Car. I
Roungelleroe1657cHib. Reg. Up. Iveagh
Ring McIlroy1659cCensus 1659 74
Kingleroye1661BSD 112
Ringleroge1663Sub. Roll Down 276
Ringleroy1666ASE 107 b 9
Rougelliroe1672cHib. Del. Down
Ringleroy1677DS (Mooney) 53
Ringmackilroy1800Map Hall Estates fol. 33
Ringmacilroy1810Wm. Map (OSNB) E42 no. 100
Ringmacelroy1829Reg. Free. (OSNB) E42 no. 100
Ringmackilroy1830Reg. Free. (OSNB) E42 no. 100
Ringmacleroy1830cBnd. Sur. (OSNB) E42 no. 100
Ringmackilroy1834cJ O'D (OSNB) E42 no. 100
Iveagh Up., Up. Half
Parish in 1851
Place name ID
Place name type