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Kilbroney Parish, County Down


Ir. Cill BhrónaíBrónach’s church’       


The old name for Kilbroney parish was Glenn Sechis, a form attested not only in Irish but also in Latin documents of the late medieval period where it appears in anglicized dress.  That it is to be identified with Kilbroney is clear from the Papal Taxation of 1306, where it is stated to be in the diocese of Dromore (Eccles. Tax. 114), and from the Irish sources where it is associated with Saint Brónach.  Although the word sechis is of dubious origin Mooney believes that it may ‘be based on the Old-Irish word sech... sometimes used as a prefix meaning ‘secluded’, and that Glenn Seichis, therefore, might mean ‘glen of seclusion’.

Whereas the old name Glenn Sechis lingered on in the records until the 17th century. Kilbroney first makes its appearence in 1366.  Although the name undoubtedly commemorates Saint Brónach, the form of its gen. case in Irish is a little uncertain.  There are two possibilities: Bróncha and Brónaí (earlier Brónaighe); and our earliest example of the name, the gen. form Brónchi uirginisBrónach the virgin’ in the 9th-century text Mart. Tal. (p. 29), clearly indicates the former.  Cill Bhróncha was also recorded by John O'Donovan from his local informant John Morgan as late as 1834.   However, the bulk of the historical documentation seems to point to an original Cill Bhrónaí, and this was the form used by Irish speakers in Omeath, Co. Louth, at the turn of the century.  A third Irish form, Cill Bhroinsheacha (51), is also recorded in the OSNB, but for this curious form there appears to be no basis. 


Ó Mainnín, M. (1992): Place-Names of Northern Ireland vol. I p. 144

Additional Information

See the townland of Kilbroney for historical forms of this name.

Historical name form

Old FormRef. DateReference
Kilbroney1657Inq. Down (Reeves1) 83
Iveagh Up., Up. Half
Parish in 1851
Place name ID
Place name type