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Ards Lower, County Down


Ir. Aird Uladh 'promontory of the Ulaidh or Ulstermen' + Eng. lower


In the seventh and eighth centuries the Ards peninsula was known as Aird Ua nEchach ‘peninsula of the Uí Echach (tribe)’. After the Uí Echach were conquered by the Vikings in the ninth century their name disappeared from the place-name and was replaced by Uladh, i.e. ‘of the Ulstermen’. The northern portion of the peninsula forms the barony of Ards Lower while the southern portion forms the barony Ards Upper. The name of the peninsula forms the final element of the name of the town of Newtownards.

It is clear from the historical forms that the barony was divided into two portions, Great Ardes and Little Ardes, at least as early as 1586.  This division does not correspond exactly to the modern barony division of Ards Upper and Lower, as three parishes formerly belonging to the Great Ardes have since been added to Ards Upper.


McKay, P. (1999): A Dictionary of Ulster Place-Names, p. 7; Hannan R. J. (1992): Place-Names of Northern Ireland vol. 2 p. 1-4 (where the name is discussed in further detail).

Additional Information

For historical forms of the name Ards not applying specifically to the baronies, see Ards Peninsula

Historical name form

Old FormRef. DateReference

Arde, the barony of the

1515SP Hen. VIII 24

Ardd, the lordship of

1540cQuinn, D.B. 1933-4 4:77

Great Ardes

1586Cal. Carew MSS 436

Great Ardes

1590Jobson's Ulster (TCD)

Great Ardes

1590Dartmouth Map 5

Great Ardes

1603Bartlett Maps (Esch. Co. Maps) i

the two Ardes

1604CSP Ire. 212

Great Ardes

1605CPR Jas I 86b

le great Ardes

1605Inq. Ult. (Down) §2Jac. I

lez Ardes magn'

1605Inq. Ult. (Down) §2 Jac. I

lez great Ardes

1605Inq. Ult. (Down) §2 Jac. I

Greate Ardes

1610cNorden's Map

Great & Little Ardes

1623Ham. Copy Inq. [1623] xxx

le magna Ardia

1636Inq. Ult. (Down) §75 Car. I
Ards Lower
Parish in 1851
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