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Ballynargan, County Tyrone


perhaps Ir. Baile na hArgana ‘townland of the plunder’


The form assigned to John O'Donovan Baile an Argain 'town of plunder' is consistent with the modern forms. However, the element argain 'destruction, plunder' (Ó Dónaill) would be expected to appear in the genitive form argana when qualifying baile 'townland'. The absence of the final syllable -a in this form could be otherwise explained as the loss of final schwa (i.e. the sound of the second -a in fada) in Moyad (from Maigh Fhada) which is a well-attested feature of Ulster Irish (see Ó Dochartaigh 1987, 168-72.). A further issue with this form assigned to John O’Donovan is that argain is a feminine noun, which, in the genitive would be preceded by the definite article in the form na. The original form Baile na hArgana might be represented in the 1661 form Ballyohargan, but does not adequately explain the majority of the other forms which appear as Ballyonarrigan (1639), Ballyonarigan (1661) and Ballyonargan (1661), unless the -on- component is assumed to be a corruption of na.

The forms without a medial vowel Ballynargan (1835c), Ballynargin(1885c) the modern form might represent a contracted form of Baile na hArgana. Ballyargan in Co. Armagh derives from a similar form, which does not contain the article, Baile Argana'town of plunder'.

Despite the inconsistencies across the historical forms, the form Baile na hArgana ‘townland of the plunder’remains the most satisfactory explanation of this name.



Additional Information

Historical name form

Old FormRef. DateReference
Ballyonarrigan al''Ballyolargen al''1639Inq. Ult. (Tyrone) $1 Car. I
al''Balllyonargan1639Inq. Ult. (Tyrone) $1 Car. I
(?)2 Ballioghanes1657Bishop. Der. i 264
Ballyohargan1661Inq. Ult. (Tyrone) $4 Car. II
Ballyonargan1661Inq. Ult. (Tyrone) $4 Car. II
Ballyonarigan1661Inq. Ult. (Tyrone) $4 Car. II
Ballynargan1835cOSNB: gen. sources D30
Ballynargin1835cOSNB: gen. sources D30
[Bal-ly-''nar-gin1835cOSNB: gen. sources D30
~Baile an argain ""town of the plundering""1835cJ O'D (OSNB) D30
~baile n-argain ""Town of the plunderings""1936TNCT 20
Bellilarganc.165Civ. Surv. 253
Dungannon Upper
Parish in 1851
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