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Kilmegan Parish (Iveagh portion), County Down


Ir. poss. Cill Bheagáin or Cill M’Aodhagáin 'church of Beagán / M’Aodhagáin'


The civil parish of Kilmegan stretches from Dundrum in the east to Castlewellan in the west and its 17 townlands are spread throughout the three baronies of Lecale, Upper Iveagh and Kinelarty. This portion in Iveagh Upper, Lower Half consists of six townlands.

The general absence of the parish name from the early written record is doubtless due to its subsidiary dependence on the church at Kilkeel which had under it several tributary chapels including the rectories of Kilcoo and Kilmegan (EA 27 citing Reg. Cromer fol. 473).  This is particularly unfortunate as the lack of early spellings of the name makes it difficult to decipher its origin and meaning.  The first element is almost certainly Irish cill ‘a church’ and the general pattern of cill-names would tend to suggest that the second element is a saint's name (although we cannot be certain of its form, let alone the identity of the bearer of the name).  Perhaps the most likely origin lies in the personal name Beagán, which was borne by several saints (Ó Corráin & Maguire 1981, 30).  Confusion between initial m and b could easily arise in Irish; lenition of initial b yields a sound [v] which is very similar to that of lenited m. Also, nasalized b regularly yields [m]. Another possibility is a hypochoristic name beginning in mo 'my (dear)', such as M’Aodhagán, 'my (dear) little Aodh'.


GT, 1993; with additions KM 2009

Additional Information

Other portions in Lecale Upper and Kinelarty

Historical name form

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Iveagh Up., Lr. Half
Parish in 1851
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