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Donaghmore Parish, County Down


Ir. Domhnach Mór ‘large church’


The name Donaghmore is derived from the Irish Domhnach Mór ‘large, great church’.  The word domhnach is a borrowing from Latin dominicum and its presence in place-names is traditionally associated with the Patrician mission of the 5th century.  The founding of Donaghmore is attributed to both St Mac Erca and St Patrick (Atkinson's Dromore 230) and according to a number of medieval sources St Mac Erca was bishop of Donaghmore in the mid-5th century (CSH 159, 702.1.2, 722.92 and see EA 111-2, 189).  No trace of his church remains, however, and the earliest archaeological evidence of an ecclesiastical site here is a stone cross in the graveyard of the church of Ireland.  This cross dates from 11th-12th century (ASCD 291) and gave name to the townland of Tullynacross, now called Glebe.  The name Donaghmore also survives as the name of a small village in Glebe and adjacent townlands (population 906 in 2001 Census), but oddly it is not marked on Ordnance Survey maps.

The loss of the internal mh in domhnach would be expected to produce a long vowel in the normal course of events and in modern Irish it is pronounced with a long closed o but as the stress in the name falls on the second element in our name (mór) the vowel in the first element has been shortened. 


Toner, G. (1992): Place-Names of Northern Ireland vol. I p. 99; revised PT, 2012.

Additional Information

See also the village of Donaghmore

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