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Belfast, County Down

Origin

Ir. Béal Feirste ‘mouth of the sand-bank ford’

Background

par: Shankill/Knockbreda/Holywood bar: Belfast Upper/Castlereagh Lower/Castlereagh Upper

 The ‘sand-bank ford’ was across the mouth of the river Lagan. The little river Farset which flows below High Street and enters the Lagan near this point has also been named from the ford (fearsaid, genitive feirste). The centre of Belfast and the greater part of the modern city is west of the Lagan in the barony of Belfast Upper in Co. Antrim. Most computerised systems automatically pre-enter "Co. Antrim" as the county for any Belfast City postcode, due to the use of 'postal counties' by Royal Mail until 1996, but the part of the city which lies east of the Lagan is in Co. Down, shared between the baronies of Castlereagh Upper and Castlereagh Lower.

References

McKay, P. (1999): A Dictionary of Ulster Place-Names, p. 21; with additions PT, 2012.

Additional Information

Co. Down part of city (eastern and south-eastern suburbs), other part in Co. Antrim; see also the baronies of Belfast Upper and Belfast Lower

Historical name form

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Barony
Castlereagh Upper/Castlereagh Lower
Parish
Knockbreda/Holywood
Parish in 1851
Knockbreda/Holywood
Townland
numerous
Place name ID
35460
Place name type
M:V