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Taughrane, County Down


perhaps Ir. Tóchar Rathain ‘causeway of bracken’


The forms for the name Taughrane only date back to the mid-17th century, but there was possibly an earlier name for the townland among the church lands held by William Worseley in 1609: Skerogath.  By analogy with the spelling of other church lands (see Drumneath in the parish of Magherally) this might be gaelicized Scorógach and referred to corróg ‘hip, angle’ (Ó Dónaill, Dinneen; see Glasker in the parish of Aghaderg, and Corrog in the parish of Ballytrustan, PNI ii 60).  The current name apparently begins teach ‘house’.  Taughrane is adjacent to the early 17th-century church lands, though not to the site of the medieval and later parish church.  The 1657 inquisition of church lands makes clear that Taughrane was originally the name of the sessiagh which formed the glebe land.  It is not clear when it became the glebe, and whether it already bore this name, although early names beginning teach ‘almost invariably’ refer not to ordinary dwellings but to religious sites of some kind.  A personal name usually forms the second element (Arthurs 1956-7, v 42; Taughlumny above).  If this were an old name, despite the lack of early references, could it have been Teach Rónáin ‘Ronan (Fionn)’s house/church’, with the local saint’s name reduced to -ran  by haplology?  ‘Ronan of Teach Rónáin’ appears in the lists of Irish saints dating from c.1125.  However haplology would be likely to preserve the long o of the first syllable of Rónán rather than the long a of the second, to give something like Taughrone.  Taughrane was held by Brownlow by 1662 and was not listed as church land in the 19th century.

O’Donovan’s suggestion (Teach Rátháin ‘house of the small fort’, OSNB 1834), ráthán being a variant of Ráithín, Raheen, common as a townland name in the south of Ireland (Joyce i 276). No monuments have been recorded by the Archaeological Survey and alternatively this name could be Teach Raithin ‘house of bracken’, with an epenthetic vowel between the two elements.  Perhaps a building from an earlier time had been overgrown.  Although raithin ‘of bracken’ is pronounced [re:n] in two townlands near Banbridge called Tullyrain, and in Coleraine (Cúil Raithin, Tírechán (Bieler) 160 §48), occasionally Coleraine is spelled Cúil Rathain (Feil. Óeng. 240), a form which may account for the difference in pronunciation here.  The extra syllable recorded in some of the forms since 1657, as well as in the local pronunciation, could indicate that the first element was tóchar ‘causeway’, which has a variant táchar (MacNeill 1962, i 146; PNI v 158-9).  Tóchar Rathain ‘causeway of bracken’ seems equally likely. 

However, in view of the lack of historical or archaeological evidence for a causeway at Taughrane, which on a low ridge between the Lagan and Lough Neagh, the derivation from tóchar proposed here needs to be treated as tentative.   A small group of late medieval names in teach around the Lagan Valley referring to secular houses seems possible, perhaps including Taughlumny in this parish, Taughblane in Hillsborough and Taughmonagh in the parish of Drumbeg, Co. Antrim.  However, such late names usually contain the oblique form tigh.  Further research is required on the element teach to decide this question.


Muhr, K. (1996): Place-Names of Northern Ireland vol. 6 p. 248; revised MÓM & PT, 2013.

Additional Information

Contains the village of Dollingstown

Historical name form

Old FormRef. DateReference

(?) Ronan Tigi Rónain

1125cCSH 707.916

(?) Skerogath

1609CPR Jas I 395b

(?) Skerogath

1611CPR Jas I 190a

(?) Skerogath

1614CPR Jas I 266a

(?) Skerogath

1616CPR Jas I 309a

(?) Skerogathe

1616Inq. Ult. (Down) $4 Jac. I

Tawghrany p'cell de Clonygillavorist

1661Inq. Ult. (Armagh) $7 Car. II

Teach Rátháin "house of the small fort"

1834cJ O'D (OSNB) E8.59

Taghe'ran, Tagharaan

1834cOSNB Pron. E8.59

Tóchar Rathain

1992PNI 248
Teaghrayne, towneland of1655cCiv. Surv. x $73
Tagharan, the Gleabe being a sessiagh of land call1657Inq. Down (Reeves1) 87
Taghrane1657cHib. Reg. Lr. Iveagh
Tony Eranny1659cCensus 1659 80
Taughrane1661BSD 72
Taughrany sessiagh1662Inq. Ult. (Down) $5 Car. II
Taghran1663Sub. Roll Down 273
Taghe Rany1669Brownlow LB 100
Taghrane1669Brownlow LB 93
Taghrane1669Brownlow LB 93
Taghran1672cHib. Del. Down
Taughran1715Vestry Reg. (OSNB) E8.59
Taughran1715Par. Reg. (OSNB) E8.59
Taugheran1751?Sur. Brownlow Estate (OSNB) E8.59
Togheraine1754Map Douglas Estate (OSNB) E8.59
Taughrain1755Map of Down (OSNB) E8.59
Taugheraine1769Ir. Wills Index 50
Toughrain1810Wm. Map (OSNB) E8.59
Taughran1830cBnd. Sur. (OSNB) E8.59
Iveagh Lr., Up. Half
Parish in 1851
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Place name type