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Mourne Mountains East, County Down

Origin

Ir. Múrna (name of a population group) + Eng. mountains + east; Ir. Beanna Boirche ‘the peaks of the peak district’

Background

The townlands of Mourne Mountains East, Middle and West, which first appear on record in the early 19th century, are rarely used by the local people who refer to the area which they encompass simply as ‘the Mountains’.  It is clear that they are purely administrative divisions of fairly recent origin.  The original Irish name of the Mourne Mountains was Beanna Boirche which appears to mean ‘the peaks of the peak district’ (see PNI iii 122-125). From roughly the 13th century onwards the area in which the mountains are situated was known as Mughdorna (Mod. Ir. Múrna) from a tribe of that name who had migrated here from their homelands in Cremorne (Irish Críoch Mhughdhorn ‘territory of the Mudhdorna’) in Co. Monaghan and gradually the mountains came to be known by the name of the district in which they are situated. Thus in early-17th century English documents we find the mountains being referred to as ‘the Mountains of Mourne’ (e.g. Mountainse of Moorne in Bartlett Maps (Esch. Co. Map), 1603) and this is the name by which the mountains are commonly known today.

References

Ó Mainnín, M. (1992): Place-Names of Northern Ireland vol. 3 p. 52

Additional Information

See also Mourne Mountains and the barony of Mourne

Historical name form

Old FormRef. DateReference
Mourne Mountains East1830cBnd. Sur. (OSNB) E35
Barony
Mourne
Parish
Kilkeel
Parish in 1851
Kilkeel
Townland
None
Place name ID
17667
Place name type
T:X