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Rathmullan Upper, County Down


Ir. Ráth Maoláin Maolán’s fort’ + Eng. upper


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 Rathmoyln 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 townland of Rathmullan Upper is bordered on the north by the townland of Rathmullan Lower.


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

Additional Information

See also the townland of Rathmullan Upper

Historical name form

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Lecale Upper
Parish in 1851
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