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Annahilt Parish (Kinelarty portion), County Down


Ir. Eanach Eilte ‘marsh of the doe’


Annahilt is the name of a parish and a village (located in the townland of Ballycrune).  The earliest reference to the name is in the Martyrology of Tallaght (c. 830) where the feast of St. Molioba of Annahilt (Molibae Enaig Elti) is marked on December 26th (Mart. Tal. p.1).  The saints’ genealogies say of this St Molioba that he was of Dál nAraide, i.e. a Cruithean (CSH 722.102).  The ruins of the former parish church of Annahilt stand in the graveyard in the townland of Glebe a short distance to the north-east of the village.  However, that church was consecrated in 1741 (ASCD 323) and it is unlikely that it marks the site of the ancient parish church.  It was suggested in 1814 by Shaw Mason (Par. Surv. 13) and in 1847 by Reeves (EA 316) that this church was surrounded by a fort, but the remains of shallow banks and ditches have been dismissed as "probably no more than an old cart track" (ASCD 150-1).  Furthermore, the shape of Glebe townland suggests that it was a late division of Aghnaleck.  The site of the medieval parish church therefore remains to be identified, but it is more likely to lie close to the settlement of Annahilt which gave name to the parish.

The parish of Annahilt is mainly in the barony of Iveagh Lower, Lower Half, with just the townland of Cargacreevy in the barony of Kinelarty.  It may have been a significant place on the Cruithin boundary in the early Middles Ages, as suggested by Ballycrune (from Ir. Bealach Cruithean ‘pass of the Cruithin’), the townland in which Annahilt village is situated.  Later Annahilt parish lay between Iveagh (Kilwarlin) / Magennis territory to the west and Kinelarty / McCartan territory to the east.  Some of the townlands were listed twice, under both baronies. Cluntagh (Ballyclonty), Ballymurphy, Ballykeel [Lougherne], and Cargacreevy in the south and east of Annahilt also appear as townlands of Kinelarty barony in the early 17th century, for example in CPR Jas I 355b (in 1616), where they belong to the lands of Phelim McCartan.


McKay, P. (2007): A Dictionary of Ulster Place-Names, p. 5, KM, 2009

Additional Information

Other portion in Iveagh Lr., Lr. Half; see also the village of Annahilt

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