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Drumbo Parish, County Down


Ir. Droim Bó ‘ridge of the cow’


Drumbo is the name of both this townland and the parish in which it is situated. The name is first recorded in a reference to Clann Ceallaigh ag Druim Bó ‘the family of Ceallach at Drumbo’ who are described in the early Ulster genealogies as descended from Bécc Bairche who was  ruler of the native kingdom of Dál Fiatach and who died in 718 AD (Descendants Ir xiv 80, see Clontonakelly). In c. AD 830 we find a reference to Cummine ab Dromma Bó,  i.e. ‘(Saint) Cummin, abbot of Drumbo’ (Mart. Tal. Aug. 10 p.62) and O’Laverty (ii 237) points out that this Saint Cummin appears to have been a brother of Saint Domangart (Mod. Ir. Dónart, i.e. Donard) who gave name to Slieve Donard and who died in AD 506.  Under the year 1003 the Annals of the Four Masters informs us that the Battle of Craebh-tulcha (i.e. Crew Hill near Glenavy) extended as far as Dún Eathach (Duneight in the parish of Blaris) and Druim Bó (Drumbo) (AFM ii 750) while in c.1306 the Taxation of Pope Nicholas refers to Ecclesia de Drumboo cum capella ‘the church of Drumbo with the chapel’ (EA 44). The site of this church and also of an earlier monastic settlement is marked by the stump of a round tower in the churchyard of the village Presbyterian church which stands near the northern boundary of the townland of Drumbo. Reeves (EA 44) has identified Drumbo with a place referred to in Latin as Collum Bovis ‘hill of the cow’ in a Life of Saint Patrick in the 7th-century Book of Armagh.  However, as pointed out by O’Laverty (ii 237), the place in question ‘seems to have been near the sea and in the vicinity of Saul and Downpatrick’.


P. McKay, 2009

Additional Information

See also the townland of Drumbo for historical forms of this name.

Historical name form

Old FormRef. DateReference
Dromboe1657Inq. Down (Reeves1) 113
Drumboe1657Inq. Down (Reeves2) 19
Castlereagh Upper
Parish in 1851
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