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Ballyargan, County Armagh


Of uncertain origin


According to the Ordnance Survey Memoirs, the name derives from the form Baile-marghan ‘the border town’ (OSM 1, 12).The element marg ‘boundary’ (Dinneen) does typically appear in place-names and, as a qualifying element would appear in the form Baile Mairge. This form does not explain the final [n] of Ballyargan and its historical forms. Further, the historical forms contain no evidence of the medial [m] consonant of Baile Mairge.  Finally, this townland is situated in the middle of the parish of Ballymore, therefore, the interpretation of border-town is not appropriate.

The form assigned to John O'Donovan Baile Argain 'town of plunder' is consistent with the historical forms. However, the element argain 'destruction, plunder' (Ó Dónaill) would be expected to appear in the genitive form argana when qualifying baile 'townland'.The absence of the final syllable -a in the modern form could be explained as the loss of final schwa (i.e. the sound of the second -a in fada) in Moyad (from Maigh Fhada) is a well-attested feature of Ulster Irish (see Ó Dochartaigh 1987, 168-72.)

Some of the historical forms, exhibit [g] at the start of the second element. This might suggest Baile Uí Gheargáin ‘Gargan’s townland’, the origin of Ballygargan in the parish of Seagoe.




Additional Information

Historical name form

Old FormRef. DateReference
Ballyargan1609Esch. Co. Map
Balliyargan1611CPR Jas I 187a
Ballygargan1616Inq. Ult. (Armagh) $5 Jas.I
Ballygargin1623Inq. Ult. (Armagh) $8 Jas.I
Ballygargan1657Inq. Arm. (Paterson) 229
Balligargan1657cHib. Reg.
Ballygargan1661BSD 4
Ballygergon1664HMR Murray (1941) 126
Ballygergon1664HMR Arm. Index 422
Balligargan1685Hib. Del. 28
Ballyargan1732Reg. Deeds abstracts $466 Vol.i
Ballyargin1830cBnd. Sur. (OSNB) no.115
Ballyargin1834?OSNB no.115
Bailie-marghan ""the border town""1834cBallymore inf. no.115
Bal-e-ar-gin1834cOSNB Pron. no.115
Ballyargin1834cSamuel Bryson (OSNB) no.115
Ballyargin1834cEvans's Return (OSNB) no.115
Ballyargin1834cOSNB Inf. no.115
~Baile argain ""town of plunder""1834cJ O'D (OSNB) no.115
Orior Lower
Parish in 1851
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