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Newtownards Parish (Ards Lower portion), County Down


Ir. Baile Nua na hArda 'new town of the promontory'


The New Town of Blathewyc occupied the site at the head of Strangford Lough on which the town of Newtownards came to be built.  In Latin, Newtownards was known as Villa Nova "new town"; in Irish it was called Baile Nua, which is a calque on the earlier Anglo-Norman name.  The form Newtownards does not appear to have been used before the first quarter of the 19th century.  In our postulated Irish form, Baile Nua na hArda, arda is a variant of the genitive singular of aird "promontory" (see introduction to the barony of the Ards).

Regarding the alias (Bally)lisnevan which occurs in four forms, Reeves cites an extract from Mac Firbhisigh's tract on the genealogy of the Dál Fiatach (EA 361) which seems to relate the origin of this name with the population group called Uí Nemand.

The parish of Newtownards has a total of 33 townlands, 17 of which lie in the barony of Ards Lower and the remaining 16 in Castlereagh Lower.


Hannan R. J. (1992): Place-Names of Northern Ireland vol. 2 p. 213-17; McKay, P. (2007): A Dictionary of Ulster Place-Names, p. 117

Additional Information

Other portion in Castlereagh Lower; see town of Newtownards for historical forms of this name

Historical name form

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Ards Lower
Parish in 1851
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