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Lecale Lower, County Down


Ir. Leath Cathail, 'Cathal’s half' + Eng. lower


Lecale is an Irish district name which later became a barony name: in Irish Leath Cathail, 'Cathal’s half' of the original Dál Fiatach kingdom based in Downpatrick.  The eponymous Cathal appears in the Irish genealogies, probably to be dated to the early 8th century (EA 201, Byrne 1973 p.285).  Those who still pronounce the name as Le-Caal are historically correct as this is the sound originally intended by the current spelling -cale.  The barony of Lecale Lower, which is slightly larger than Lecale Upper, comprises the northern and eastern portion of this territory, bounded by Strangford Lough and the sea, extending as far south as Ringfad Point near Ardglass. 


Muhr, Kay (2005): 'An Elizabethan map of north-east Down', Lecale Review no. 3, 22; with additions PT, 2012.

Additional Information

Historical name form

Old FormRef. DateReference

tighearna Leithe Chathail do mharbhadh lá Leith Chathail

0891AFM i 546

a lám dess fri Mag Inis co rriacht Manaind

0900cTrip. Life (Stokes) 220

co Inber Slan [the mouth of the Slain, an unidentified river, probably near Saul]

0900cTrip. Life (Stokes) 36

hi tírib Ulud (.i. i Maig Inis)

0900cTrip. Life (Stokes) 220

sech or nUlad coro gaib i nInbiur Brénnéa [an unidentified river-mouth, probably in Lecale]

0900cTrip. Life (Stokes) 36

a Leith Chathail (císa tuath nUlad)

1050cLebor na Cert 90 l.1344

a tuathaib Cathail (císa tuath nUlad, verse)

1050cLebor na Cert 94 l.1388

do ríg Leithi Cathail (Ulaid)

1050cLebor na Cert 84 l.1251

Mag Inis la Ultu

1160cLL 15b/i l.1869,18

il-Leith Cathail

1170cMart. Gorm. Apr 14 p76n

il-Leith Cathail

1170cMart. Gorm. Sep 17 p178n

il-Leith Chathail a n-Ultaib

1170cMart. Gorm. Apr 14 p114n

Leithi-Cathail, tigernus

1469AU iii 226


1470AU iii 234

a Leith-Cathail

1470AU iii 234

a Leith-Cathail

1470AU iii 228

a Leigh-Cathail

1485AU iii 290

a Leth Cathail 7 a nOirrtheraibh (Trian Conghail)

1493AU iii 374

gu Leth-Cathail

1538AU iii 624

i lLeith Cathail

1630cMart. Don. Sep 17 p250

ilLeith Cathail

1630cMart. Don. April 14 p102

Dál Fiatach

1992PNI xix,17

Leath Cathail

2000NIPNP replies KM/DMacGE
~a Leth-Cathail1493AU iii 374
Leckale1554Fiants Philip & Mary $36
Lekayle1556Fiants Philip & Mary $116
Lekayle1556Fiants Philip & Mary $118
Lecaile (x2)1558Fiants Philip & Mary $257
Lecale1558Fiants Philip & Mary $256
Lecale1595Mercator's Ulst.
Lecale1610Speed's Ulster
Lecale1622Ulster Visit. Reeves 37
Lecale Lower
Parish in 1851
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