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Carnaghliss, County Antrim


Ir. Carn na lios 'cairn of the forts'


The first element in this place-name is carn which is typically interpreted as 'cairn' or ‘heap of stones’ and often can make reference to a stone-built mound, especially a burial monument (HDGP 60). Carn also appears in the townlands anglicised as Carn in counties Derry, Fermanagh and Armagh. Carn also appears frequently as the first element in placenames, one example of which is the townland of Carn Albanach 'cairn of the scotsmen' (Carnalbanagh, Co. Antrim). In the centre of the townland is a peak of 1465m, likely referring to the initial element carn ‘cairn’ which typically appear on hilltops.

The second element appears to derive from lios ‘fort’ which typically refers to an earthen-banked fort (Flanagan 1980, 16).

A recent analysis (NIPNP posters Belfast) proposes the form Carn Eachlaisce 'cairn of the horse-shelter' which is more representative of the modern form.

However, upon consultation of the OSNI Historical map series, we can see further evidence in support of the earlier derivation Carn na Lios.  Within the townland there are remains of 3 Early Christian raths, 2 trivallate (containing three banks and fosses) raths and one circular cropmark (indicating previous presence of a ringfort). The genitive plural form of lios 'fort' is lios which, on the basis of this evidence, is more likely to be the origin of the second element of Carnaghliss.


Additional Information

Historical name form

Old FormRef. DateReference
Carnaghleske1605Inq. Ant. (DK) 43
Carneaghliske1629Inq. Ult. (Antrim) Car.I $7
Carnaghlis1657cHib. Reg. Massereene
Carnaclasse1669HMR Ant. 93
Carnaliss1672cHib. Del. Antrim
Carnaghliss1780Lendrick Map
~Carnach Lios ""fort of the carn""1832cJ O'D (OSNB) A7 123
Carn Eachlaisce ""cairn of (the) horse shelter""1991NIPNP posters Belfast
Massereene Lower
Parish in 1851
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