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Rathmullan Parish (Lecale Upper portion), County Down


Ir. Ráth Maoláin Maolán’s fort’


Hamlet is 7km SSW of Downpatrick

bar: Lecale Upper

The modern Church of Ireland parish church in the south of the townland of Rathmullan Upper marks the site of the medieval parish church of Rathmullan, the name of which is recorded as Rathmullin in 1213 (EA 32) and as Ecclesia de Rathmolyn in the Papal Taxation of c.1306 (Eccles. Tax. 32). The forename Maolán ‘occurs occasionally in the early pedigrees’ (Ó Corráin & Maguire 1981, 131) and is the basis of the surnames Mac Maoláin ‘MacMullan’ and Ó Maoláin ‘(O’) Mullan’ (Woulfe 1923, 389, 603). The location of the site of the rath or fort which forms the first element of the place-name is uncertain: it may be marked by a mound in the north of the townland of Rathmullan Lower which appears to be the remains of a Norman motte (ASCD 195). About 50 yards north of this the site of a tower house or castle is also recorded (ASCD 248). The forename Maolán may also form the final element of Lismullen, the name of the site of an ancient chapel situated some six miles to the north-east, in the townland of Bishops Court, parish of Dunsfort.  

The parish of Rathmullan is in the barony of Lecale Upper, with the exception of the townland of Ballyorgan, which forms a detached portion in Lecale Lower.


PMcK, 2009; revised PT, 2012; McKay, P. (2007): A Dictionary of Ulster Place-Names, p. 124

Additional Information

Other portion in Lecale Lower; see the townlands of Rathmullan Upper and Rathmullan Lower for historical forms of this name

Historical name form

Old FormRef. DateReference
Rathmullen1657Inq. Down (Reeves1) 119
Lecale Upper
Parish in 1851
Place name ID
Place name type