Placenamesni.orgthe history behind our place-names

Desertcreat, County Tyrone


Ir. Díseart Dá Chríoch ''''hermitage of the two territories'


All references to the name postdate the 12th century reform period and so there is no record of when the díseart was founded. However, the term díseart itseld indicates that this was a church site before the 12th century. D. Flanagan in an article called 'A Summary Guide to the More Commonly Attested Ecclesiastical Elements in Place-names) states:

" A consideration of the Leinster and Munster instances suggests a connection between the spread of the element díseart and the ascetic Céli Dé movement of the 8th and 9th centuries. However, several díseart sites have allegedly earlier associations, notably Desertegny (Don.) and Desertoghill (Derry) both of which are associated with Colm Cille (6th century). The impression gained is that díseart-names may have begun as early as the 6th century, with the meaning of 'hermitage' and by the 8th and 9th centuries had developed a more specialised meaning of 'a place apart: a monastic house observing a stricter rule".

The foundation of Díseart Dá Chríoch most probably predates the Cenél nEógain association with Tulach Óg (which may have begun as early as the 9th century). The qualification Dá Chríoch and the original reference of this boundary was maintained during the Cenél nEógain regime at Tulach Óg. The name Díseart Dá Chríoch may more rationally be seen to mean 'the hermitage of the two territories' (as distinct from 'of the two boundaries'), i.e. sited on the boundary between two territories, which boundary represents two territorial limits. The qualification may suggest that the church served the needs of two territories, in which case the term díseart is a stage removed from 'hermitage' in the strict sense. Indeed, Díseart Dá Chríoch may, from an early stage, have eclipsed the importance of nearby Domnach Riascad (Donaghrisk), allegedly a Patrician site and probably the equivalent of the parish church for the immediate area; in the post-12th century documentation Desertcreat is certainly the more important ecclesiastical name.

Desertcreat Parish Church (Church of Ireland) still stands in Desertcreat. It was founded in 1623 A.D and is said to be the fourth church to stand on the present site. So it may be said that down to the present day Díseart Dá Chríoch has maintained its ecclesiastical function. 

In the early Irish documentation of the nameis always reflected. It is not until the mid-17th century on Ó Mealláin's entry (1643) that has fallen out of use. Ó Mealláin's form most likely reflects the local Irish pronunciation of the name at that time.

However, the lenition of initial c of críoch in Ó Mealláin's form and the lenition of the same in A.C.C and F.M. demonstrate that the element of the name is 'two' and not a genitive plural of the definite article (da<inda). This is further supported by the consistent representation of the initial of the final element as c (as distinct from g) in the anglicised spellings.

In the 17th century anglicisations it is interesting to note the final guttural spirant which is a reflection of the original final -ch or -chríoch represented as -gh in the transliteration.

Also of interest, is the transition from -creagh (et var.) to -creat, the modern day form. The forms -creaght best reflect this transition. It is possible that the attraction of final t was a feature of the Irish pronunciation in the area (although there is not certainty that it was). The resulting loss of [x] before t is well attested in the Irish of south Ulster in names such as Ballybot (Co. Down), Baile Bocht,, Drumsnat (Co. Monaghan) Droim Sneachta and Tamlat (four townland instances in Co. Monaghan) Tamlacht.


McCann (1982, 50-54)

Additional Information

cf. Desertcreat Par. 70586

Historical name form

Old FormRef. DateReference
Obitus Do Cinni Daire Murchaisi0689AU (Mac Airt) 152
teampull Diseart Da Crich do losgadh1195Miscell. Ann. 74 $2
Cath Disirt Da Chrich eter Conall 7 Eogan1281AU ii 358
Cath Disirt Da Chríoch edir CenelcConaill&C.Eogain1281AFM iii 432
Cath Dísirt Dá Chrích (Conallaigh x Eoghanaigh)1281ALC i 487
Dessertdacrud1302-Eccles. Tax. (Ó Doibhlin) 155
Dissertdacrud1302-Eccles. Tax. (Ó Doibhlin) 202
Disertcreagh1397Colton Vis. 55p, King''s bks
Disirt da chrioch ""desert of the 2 territories""1397Colton Vis. 55p, 4Masters
Dissert-da-crea, ad ecclesiam de, in Decanatus de 1397Colton Vis. 55
Disertcryg1455Reg. Mey 333
Dysertcr[eat]1455Reg. Swayne 203
Disert criegh1608Sur. Ulst. 153
Desertcreigh1609Inqs Tullaghoge (Ó Doibhlin) 168
Disentgiegh1609Inq. Ult. (Tyrone) app.II, c.3
Disertcriegh1609Inq. Ult. (Tyrone) app.II, c.4
Disart Crygh1610Speed's Ulster
Disertcriagh1614Inqs Tullaghoge (Ó Doibhlin) 175
Desertcraighe1615Papal Bull (Ó Doibhlin) 162
Disertcreagh1615CPR Jas I 274b
Disertcreigh1615CPR Jas I 274a
Desarteriaghe1615cPapal Bull (Ó Doibhlin) 162
Deserrtcreagh1618CPR Jas I (Ó Doibhlin) 171
Disertcriegh 3 b''bets & 5 b''bos1618CPR Jas I 376a
Dissertcreigh1618CPR Jas I 376a
Desertcreagh1620CPR Jas I 478b
Desertereagh1620CPR Jas I 479a
Disertcreagh1620Rent Roll (Ó Doibhlin) .179
Desertcreagh1633Inq. Ult. (Tyrone) $40 Car. I
Desortcreagh1633Inq. Ult. (Tyrone) $40 Car. I
Disertcragh1655cCiv. Surv. 247
Dissertcreagh1655cCiv. Surv. 262
Dissertereagh1655cCiv. Surv. p.282,293,302
Dissertireagh1655cCiv. Surv. pp.250,255,256,
Dissertreagh1655cCiv. Surv. 248
(?)the lands of Mannor Roe1657cCiv. Surv. iii 262
(?)Disecreatt1663Sub. Rolls Tyr. 233
Disertcreaght1663?Sub. Rolls Tyr. 14
Desertcreaght1664Sub. Rolls Tyr. 6a
Disertcreagh1664HMR Tyr. (1) 1
Desertcreagh1666HMR Tyr. (2) 234
Desertcreagh1666HMR Tyr. (2) DOD28
Desertcreaght1666Sub. Rolls Tyr. 9
Disertcreagh1666HMR Tyr. (2) 233
Dirricreat1667Sub. Rolls Tyr. 11
Desertcreat (Par. in bar. Dungannon)1802Stat. Sur. Tyr. (McEvoy) 3
Desertcreat riv1834OSM xx 33,34
Desertcreat, par 69 tlds, 14400a1834OSM xx 32
Dysertcreaght, Rev. John Buck1834OSM xx 34
Desertcreat1834cOSNB: gen. sources D24no43
Disertcreagh1834cOSNB: gen. sources D24no43
Dysertcreaght1834cOSNB: gen. sources D24no43
Dysertcreight1834cOSNB: gen. sources D24no43
~Díseart dá Críoch ""desert of the two territories""1834cJ O'D (OSNB) D24no43
Desertcreat td1835cOSNB: gen. sources D24no43
~diseart crioth ""Waste place of the territories""1936TNCT 26
Díseart Dá Chríoch ""hermitage of the two territori1982Mc Cann H.P. 1982 52
Díseart Dá Chríoch2000NIPNP replies PMcK/DMacGE
Díseart Dá Chríoch ""hermitage of the two territori2002PNP talk PMcK/Omagh DC
Dungannon Upper
Parish in 1851
Place name ID
Place name type