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Kilmood and Ballybunden, County Down


Kilmood: Ir. Cill Mo Dhiúid ‘Mo Dhiúid’s church’; Ballybunden: perhaps Ir. Baile Uí Bhuanáin ‘townland of Ó Buanáin'.


The townland bearing the parish name is in the SW of the parish.  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’.

The townland of Kilmood and Ballybunden appears to have names referring both to the site of the parish church of Kilmood, and to the settlement of a family, possibly that of the erenaghs of the church. In the early 17th century the name was anglicised Ballyboonen, with an intrusive –d- appearing from 1623.  It is possibly Baile Uí Bhuanáin, using a patronymic or surname based on a pet form of the personal name Buan ‘enduring one’, although Woulfe only lists the surname Ó Banáin, usually anglicised Bannon. Bunden does not appear to exist as an English name.


K. Muhr, 2009; revised MÓM 2012

Additional Information

Also listed as Ballybunden and Kilmood in 1851 and 1961 townland indices

Historical name form

Old FormRef. DateReference

Kilmode, Ecclesia de

1306cEccles. Tax. 10

Kilmudd, Ecclesia de

1615Terrier (Reeves) 53

Baile Ui Bondain ""Bunden''s town""

1834cJ O'D (OSNB) No. 22

Cill Mochuda ""St Mochood''s Church

1834cJ O'D (OSNB) No. 22

Cill Muaid ""Mood''s Church""

1834cJ O'D (OSNB) No. 22
Kilmode-managh1605Inq. Ult. (Down) $2 Jac. I
Kilmudd1615Terrier (O'Laverty) 327
Killwood1622Ulster Visit. Reeves 53
Kilimoodmanagh1623Ham. Copy Inq. [1623] xliv
Kilmood1623Ham. Copy Inq. [1623] xxxii
Kilnurde Menage1627CPR Chas I 230
Kilmodemagh1636Inq. Ult. (Down) $75 Car. I
Kilmodemanagh1636Inq. Ult. (Down) $75 Car. I
Kilmood1650cInq. Ult. (Down) $109 Car. I
Kilmood al Kilmoodmanagh1650cInq. Ult. (Down) $109 Car. I
Kilmood1659cCensus 1659 89
(?)Killwood Quarter1661BSD 122
(?)Kilwoodmanagh1662Inq. Ult. (Down) $1 Car. II
Kilmoodmanagh1662Inq. Ult. (Down) $1 Car. II
Kilmud1664Trien. Visit. (Margetson) 23
Kilmud1679Trien. Visit. (Boyle) 44
Killmuid al Killmond1717Montgomery MSS 420 n 93
Ballybunden and Kilmood1830cBnd. Sur. (OSNB) No. 22
Kilmood1830cBnd. Sur. (OSNB) No. 22
Kilmud1830cTreas. Warrant (OSNB) No. 22
Castlereagh Lower
Parish in 1851
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