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Rathmore, County Antrim


Ir. An Ráth Mór ‘the great fort’


The name of the townland of Rathmore is recorded in the Annals of the Four Masters under the year 680AD (recte 684AD) when we are informed that Cath Ratha moiré Maighe Line, i.e. ‘the battle of Rathmore of Moylinny’ was gained over the Britons, ‘wherein was slain Cathasach, son of Maelduin, chief of the Cruithni, and Ultan, son of Dicolla’ (AFM i 288). Moylinny is now a mere townland which lies a short distance to the south-west, in the civil parish of Antrim but it was originally also a native Irish kingdom extending as far east as Ballyclare and beyond and having its headquarters in the townland of Rathmore (see Moylinny, Rathbeg). The remains of the fort after which the townland is named still stand in the west of the townland. It is referred to as ‘Rathmore Trench’ in the Northern Ireland Sites and Monuments Record (sh. 50). Writing c.1884 O’Laverty (iii 216) comments that ‘the Great Rath (for such is the translation of Rathmore) which gives name to the townland, was the royal residence of the kings of Dalaradia…there is, however, nothing remarkable in its fortifications or size to distinguish it from many similar raths throughout the country or to indicate its former importance’. Dalaradia is a latinised spelling of Dál Araidhe, the name of a native Irish kingdom which in 684AD would have included the southern half of modern Co. Antrim along with a large portion of Co. Down. In the Taxation of Pope Nicholas which dates from c.1306 there is a reference to Ecclesia de Rathmore (Eccles. Tax. 68). O’Laverty (iii 225) informs us that the field which is a few yards west of the fort was known as ‘Castle Field’ (from a castle which was burned by Edward Bruce in 1315) and that ‘tradition states that a castle and a church stood in that field; and, within memory, foundation of walls of exceeding strength and thickness stood on it, and quantities of human bones and some silver coins were dug up about them…The church must have disappeared at an early date, as no record of it occurs in the Terrier’ (i.e. the Terrier of Down and Connor of 1615). A small portion of the townland of Rathmore is in the neighbouring parish of Donegore.


Pat McKay

Additional Information

298a3r32p in Nilteen,67a1r36 Donegore (1851)

Historical name form

Old FormRef. DateReference
Ratha móire Maighe line, cath0680AFM i 288
~[co] Ráith Móir1005AIF 176
Rath mor1100cEA 386
~(?)Rátha Muighe, abb1170cMart. Gorm. Oct 8n p192
~(?)Rátha Muighe, abb1170cMart. Gorm. Oct 8n p192
~(?)Rátha Muighe, abb1170cMart. Gorm. Oct 8n p192
Rathmore, capella de1251cEA 70
Rathmore, Ecclesia de1306Eccles. Tax. 68
~Raith Mor1315Freeman, M. 1944 230
Rathmore1347EA 281
Ramoore1605Inq. Ant. (DK) 49
Rathmore1605CPR Jas I 77a
Rathmore1605Inq. Ant. (DK) 44
Rathmore1608CPR Jas I 120b
Raith Mór161Stokes, W. 1895,96,97 xvii 7
Rathmore1621CPR Jas I 524a
Rathmore1621Inq. Ult. (Antrim) Jac.I $7
~(?)Ratha muighe, Ciaran, abb1630cMart. Don. Oct 8 p268
~cath Ratha Móire1633cCéitinn iii 140
Rath-mor1647Trias. Thaum. 183 col.2
Rodmoore1669HMR Ant. 129
Rodmoore1669HMR Ant. 129
Rathmore1780Lendrick Map
Rathmore1780Lendrick Map
~Rath Mór ""great fort""1832cJ O'D (OSNB) A2
~Rath Mór ""great fort""1832cJ O'D (OSNB) A2
Newpark1834OSNB B152
Rath-mor1847EA 70
~Raith mor1847EA 70
~Rath-mor-Muighe-Line (great rath of Moylinny)1869Joyce i 275
~Rath-mor-Muighe-Line (great rath of Moylinny)1869Joyce i 275
~Ratha More Maighi Line, bellum682AU (Mac Airt) 146
~Ratha More Maighi Line, bellum682AU (Mac Airt) 146
Antrim Upper
Grange of Nilteen/Donegore
Parish in 1851
Grange of Nilteen/Donegore
Place name ID
Place name type