Placenamesni.orgthe history behind our place-names

Garvaghy Parish (Iveagh Lr., Lr. Half portion), County Down


Ir. An Garbhachadh ‘the rough field’


The parish of Garvaghy is first mentioned, as a vicarage (vicarius), in the Archbishop's list of Iveagh parishes in 1422.  The name follows that of Dromara in the 1546 list of parish revenues in the same document, and the parish was sometimes part of the prebend of Dromara (Reg. Dowdall 275, 80).  The "lands of Garwaghadh annexed to the Bishop of Dromore's table" were mentioned in 1427-8 and 1431 as let to the family of McKewyn (Reg. Swayne 101).  Some church lands in the parish were held by the O'Sheils as "erenagh of Cnocgwrnis" in 1526 (Reg. Cromer), called the "four and a half townlands of the territory of Knockaguerrin" in the King's Books (EA 310). In 1657 "four townes of Knockagurrin, part of the parish, was a mensall to the Bishop".  Mensal land was intended to provide food for the table, so that this district was totally devoted to the bishop's use.  The four townlands, in 1622 called Ballylysdunevaghy (probably the townland of Knockgorm), BallincastlevaunanBallyyinkillichehuch, Ballihilli (Castlevennon, Killaney, Balloolymore), were allocated to Bishop Todd's brother-in-law William Worseley in 1609, leased for 60 years to Edward Trevor by Bishop Buckworth in 1622, and held by a Mrs Buckworth, widow, probably a relation of the bishop, in 1657.  Five other townlands were church land.  In 1609 Owen O'Rony held Corbally and Castlemyrathie (Ballooly, since it borders Garvaghy and Fedany), Gilleduffe McBrien had Tullyorior, and Edward Trevor also had Kilkinamurry and Shanrod, as tenants of the bishop.

The name Garvaghy appeared in 1428 in the form Garwaghadh (Reg. Swayne 101) and this and the other forms have been generally interpreted as Garbhachadh ‘rough field’, the same etymology as the town of Garvagh in Co. Derry, and townland of Garvaghy in Co. Tyrone ( 108).  The stress, which would have been on the first element, the adjective, has shifted to the second element, possibly influenced by the pronunciation of the phrase Garvaghy Hill in English (Stockman 1991, 19b).  The parish is low ground beside the Bann on the west, but the ground rises steadily to the east, where many of the townlands contain hills from 500 to 750 feet high, with boggy ground between them. The north of the parish, including the townland of Garvaghy, is bounded by the Gall Bog. In 1834 the parish contained ‘numerous small bogs and lakes’ (OSNB 12).  Three former lakes, Knockgorm, Lough Kock and Loughdoo, have now been drained, leaving only one in Shanrod townland.  


Muhr, K. (1996): Place-Names of Northern Ireland vol. 6, pp. 189-91

Additional Information

Other portion in Iveagh Up., Lr. Half

Historical name form

Old FormRef. DateReference
Garwagh1422Reg. Dowdall $129 275
Garwaghadh1428Reg. Swayne 101
Garvagh1546Reg. Dowdall $113 80
Garvaghie1611CPR Jas I 191a
rectory/vicarage of Garvaghy1611CPR Jas I 190b
Garvaghy1657Inq. Down (Reeves1) 95
Garvaghy1657cHib. Reg. Up. Iveagh
Rector de Garvaghy1661Trien. Visit. (Bramhall) 17
Garvagh1672cHib. Del. Down
Garvaghy Rectoria1679Trien. Visit. (Boyle) 47
Garvaghy vicaria1679Trien. Visit. (Boyle) 47
Garvaghy1690cLamb Maps Co. Downe
Garvaghy +church1743Harris Hist. map
Garvaghy1802Dubourdieu's Map Dn (OSNB) NB12
Garvaghy1810Wm. Map (OSNB) NB12
pronounced Garvaghy and Garvacky1834OSM xii 81b
Garvaughy1834cCess Book (OSNB) NB12
[gar-''va-hy]1834cOSNB Pron. NB12
~Garbh-achadh ""rough field""1834cJ O'D (OSNB) NB12
~Garbhachadh1989GÉ 108
Iveagh Lr., Lr. Half
Parish in 1851
Place name ID
Place name type