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Kilmood Parish, County Down


Ir. Cill Mo Dhiúid ‘Mo Dhiúid’s church’


Kilmood is the name of a parish and also of a hamlet within it, but the full name of the townland in which this located is Kilmood and Ballybunden (sometimes Ballybunden and Kilmood).  The saint named in the townland and parish of Kilmood appears in the notes to the Martyrology (saints’ calendar) of Oengus the Culdee as ‘Bishop Simplex, i.e. Modiuit bishop of Cill Modiuit (‘Modiuit’s church’) in Uí Maine’ (Féil. Óeng. ed. Stokes p.72, Feb. 12th)In his edition of the later Martyrology of Donegal, John O’Donovan noted that the church in Uí Mhaine might be perhaps the townlands of Killamude East and Killamude West, in the barony of Tiaquin, Co. Galway, near Mountbellew (Mart. Don. p.46).  Edmund Hogan SJ pointed out that Kilmood in Co. Down must also represent Cill Mo Dhiuid (Onomasticon Goedelicum 1910, p 202). The church of Kilmode was listed in the 1306 Papal Taxation, and Reeves said a new church had been built c. 1825 on the early site (EA 11n).

The church may be that marked St Bryd, with a church symbol beside a boundary river, on a map of East Down c. 1580 (Nat. Archives London MPF 1/87, Muhr 2005).  The river past St Bryd's church is probably the Blackwater from Magherascouse Lough near Ballygowan, which flows past the townland of Kilmood and Ballybunden.  Little is known of the patron saint of Kilmood, in modern spelling Mo Dhiúid, and St Brigid/Bríd may be a late commemoration.  It is also possible that the connection to St Bríd may have arisen through mistranscription and misinterpretation of a form such as *St Myd/Muyd as St Bryd, particularly as the related consonants 'm' and 'b' are occasionally interchanged in place-names. A number of the 17th-century references call the parish Killmoodmanagh (1623, 1636, 1650c, 1662) apparently for Ir. Cill Mo Dhiúid Manach: Kilmood‘of the monks’.


K. Muhr, 2009; revised MÓM 2012

Additional Information

See also townland of Kilmood and Ballybunden for historical forms of this name

Historical name form

Old FormRef. DateReference
Killmood1657Inq. Down (Reeves1) 143
Castlereagh Lower
Parish in 1851
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