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Iveagh Lower, Upper Half, County Down


Ir. Uíbh Eachach 'descendants of Echu' + Eng. lower + Eng. upper half


The name Iveagh derives from Uíb Echach, later spelled Uíbh/Íbh Eachach/Eathach, the dative or locative form of the tribal name Uí Echach 'grandsons/descendants of Echu'.  Ua or Ó 'grandson', plural , as used in surnames, is often prefixed by h in the early spellings, some of which show the Old Irish accusative plural Uu.  The use of dative Uíbh for all grammatical cases of this name can be traced in Irish from about AD 1600.  In early historical times Uí Echach were one of the tribes of the confederation of the Ulaid 'Ulstermen', after whom the province of Ulster is named (Flanagan 1978(d)).  Uí Echach shared the kingship of east Ulster with Dál Fiatach, the historic Ulaid, and with Dál nAraide of south Antrim, who like Uí Echach belonged to the ethnic group called Cruthin.  The large number of Irish references reflect the historical importance of Uí Echach.

Iveagh was the largest barony in Co. Down, stretching from Lough Neagh to Rosstrevor, and from Poyntzpass to Newcastle.  It was divided in the early 17th century into Lower (northern) and Upper (southern) Iveagh by a line running east to west between Dromara and Banbridge.  Since then each half-barony has also been divided into Upper and Lower halves, the northern part by another roughly east to west line, dividing Hillsborough from Dromore; the southern part by a line roughly running north to south, curving round Knock Iveagh and passing through Katesbridge and Rathfriland.  Thus Iveagh became four baronies.


Muhr, K. (1996): Place-Names of Northern Ireland vol. 6, p. 1-7, where the name is discussed in further detail.

Additional Information

Historical name form

Old FormRef. DateReference

la hUa nAidith & la hiochtar Ua nEchdach

1020AFM ii 796

infra territor'' de Iveaghe

1630Inq. Ult. (Down) $14 Car. I
(the) Lower Iveagh1655cCiv. Surv. x $$72-3
Lower Eveagh1655cCiv. Surv. x $$70,72
barony of lower Iveagh1658Inq. Ult. (Down) $1 Interregnum
Lower Evagh Barony1659cCensus 1659 78
Lower Euagh Bar.1661BSD (Annes.) 81f.
Lower Evagh Bar.1661BSD (Annes.) 68ff.
Lower Evagh1672cHib. Del. Down
Upper & Lower Evagh1690cLamb Maps
Lower Iveach1744Harris Hist. 84
Lower Iveagh1810Wm. Map (OSNB) E8.59
Iveagh Lower Upper Half
Parish in 1851
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