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Coolaveely, County Antrim


Ir. Cúil Uí Bhaothalaigh(?) Ó Baothalaigh’s corner’


It is difficult to discern which of cúil meaning ‘corner, recess, nook’ or cúl ‘back’ (e.g. of a hill (Joyce ii 200)) represents the first element of this place-name. The townland is topographically dominated by the western and northern slopes of a hill in Broughmore. Both words have been anglicized into identical forms elsewhere, and in unstressed position are often pronounced in the same way . Cúil appears to be much more prevalent in townland names, however (L. Log. C. Chainnigh 27-28;L. Log. Luimnigh 34-5; 84-5 (etc.)). 

  O’Donovan’s explanation of this name Cúil a’ Mhíle ‘corner or angle of the soldier’(form 9) is a possible origin; we could also consider that the final element took one of the variant forms mhíleadh/mhílidh (cf. Dinneen sv. míle). Local military lore, concerning for example Shane O’Neill’s campaign in Glenshesk, in which this townland is situated, abounded in the 1830s (cf. OSM passim), but míle would represent a somewhat unusual element in a townland name. Forms including Cúil an Bhile ‘corner of the (sacred) tree’ (bile is discussed under Toberbilly in Ramoan) and perhaps Cúil an Mhínligh/Mhíonlaigh ‘corner of the tract of grassland (in mountain)’ could also be considered. However, the historical forms closely resemble those of Ballyveely, a neighbouring townland in Ramoan, which appears to contain the gen. form of the rare surname Ó Baothalaigh. It remains a possibility that Coolaveely has latterly come under the influence of Ballyveely thus masking its etymology.


(info. from Mac Gabhann, F. (1997): Place-Names of Northern Ireland vol. 7 p. 132)

Additional Information

Historical name form

Old FormRef. DateReference
Coolaveely1734Stewart's Survey 3
Coolaveely1734C. McG. (OSNB) B 24 B 37
Cullyvieley1734Religious Survey
Macherientemple1734C. McG. (OSNB) B 24 B 37
Colvilly1782Sur. A.E. 54
Cultravillon otherwise Ballyvilly1814PRONI D2977/3A/2 /1/40
Coollyvealy1830Bnd. Sur. (OSNB) B 24 B 37
Cúil a'' Mhíle ""corner or angle1831J O'D (OSNB) B 24 B 37
of the soldier""1831J O'D (OSNB) B 24 B 37
Cullavilly1833Tithe Applot. 2
Coolyveally1838OSM xxiv 58
Cúl an bhile ""The corner1905Ó Dubhthaigh 137
of the tree""1905Ó Dubhthaigh 137
Cuil a Bhile ""Corner of the Old Tree""1934Magill's Antrim 78
Cúil an bhile ""The corner1981Dallat's Culfeightrin 35
of the ancient pagan tree""1981Dallat's Culfeightrin 35
Parish in 1851
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