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Inch Parish, County Down


Ir. Inis CúscraidhCúscraidh’s island or water-meadow’


The townland of Inch contain the ruins of a Cistercian Abbey which was founded by John de Courcy in 1187 (ASCD 279). It was widely believed that the abbey took the name Iniscourcy from its founder John de Courcy but John O’Donovan demonstrated that a church had existed here for two centuries before de Courcy’s time and that its real name was Inis Cumhscraidh (Mod. Ir. Inis Cúscraidh) (Dub. Penny Journ. i 104, cited EA 92). In fact, the presence of a much earlier church is indicated by a reference to Inis Cúscraid  as early as c.830 in the Martyrology of Oengus (Fél. Óeng. Jul 22 p.164). The identity of the Cúscraidh who gave this place its name is uncertain although it is asserted in the epic tale Táin Bo Cuailnge or ‘The Cattle Raid of Cooley’ that it was once inhabited by Cúscraidh Mend Macha, son of Conchobar, king of Ulster, whose seat was at Emain Macha, now Navan Fort in Co. Armagh (TBC (LL) ll 211, 702). The first element of the place-name is inis ‘island’ which has also come to refer to a ‘holm, water-meadow’. By the late middle ages the name had been truncated from Inis Cúscraidh to Inis and anglicised Inch (Flanagan 1971, 105). There are eleven other Irish townlands named Inch.


PMcK, 2009

Additional Information

See the townland of Inch for historical forms of this name

Historical name form

Old FormRef. DateReference
""the island of the Inch"$42 Car.IIInq. Ult. (Down)
Inche (x2) in Downe1570Fiants Eliz. $1659
Inche abbey1580cIre map c.1580
Inche ab1595Mercator's Ulst.
Inche abb1595Mercator's Ire.
Enish Ca:1601Bartlett Map (TCD)
Ca Inch1603Bartlett Maps (Esch. Co. Maps) 1
Inch, late priory of1603CPR Jas I 14a
Inche, the island of1603CPR Jas I 14a
Inche in Lecale, late priory of1606CPR Jas I 78a
Inch ab1610Speed's Ulster
Inch ah1610Speed's Antrim & Down
Inche, the abbey of1617CPR Jas I 336a
the Inch (a ferry ... to)1617CPR Jas I 336b
the Inch, island of [and all the demesne lands of 1617CPR Jas I 336a
Inis1622Ulster Visit. Reeves 31
Inche, vill'' + terr'' de1632Ex. Inq. (Dn) $8 Car.I
insul'' de le Inch1635Inq. Ult. (Down) $63 Car.I
Inch1657Inq. Down (Reeves1) 127
Inch1659cCensus 1659 71
Inch, monaster'' de1662Inq. Ult. (Down) $42 Car.II
Inch (x2)1680Indenture (Winkfield) 4
Inch, ye four towns of1680Indenture (Winkfield) 2
the Inch1680Indenture (Winkfield) 1
Inch, the Isld1700cDescr. D'patrick
Inch Isld1710Manr Downpatrick
Inch half town1710Manr Downpatrick
Inch, Halfe Towne1729Southwell Estate Papers 33
Inch, Island1729Southwell Estate Papers 33
Inch, Inner1743Maxwell Rent Roll fol. 1
Inch, outer1743Maxwell Rent Roll fol. 1
Inch 4 towns1752Southwell Rental [1752] 14
Inch1766Inhabitants of Inch 1,4
Lecale Lower
Parish in 1851
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