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Craigavad, County Down


Ir. Creig an Bháda ‘rock of the boat’


On S shore of Belfast Lough, 3km NE of Holywood

par: Holywood bar: Castlereagh Lower

Craigavad has had a long history, since it was referred to c. 1306 as the ‘church of Cragger’(EA 13n). The rest of the name appeared in the Annates c. 1500: Chregebaydy.  An inquisition in 1645 listed the lands of the church of Cragyvadda as the townland of the name, Ballyrobert, Ballydavey and Ballygrainey (§104 Car. II).  The townland name survives to the present, minus the final vowel, and the church site survived to the 19th century: ‘The foundations of the church still remain in a rocky field, which lies between Craigavad House and the lough, and beside them stands a solitary tombstone’ - to James Magee who died in 1714 (EA 13n). The reference to a boat, which is in Irish normally bád, in Scottish Gaelic báta, is closer to the Scottish Gaelic form of the word.  Because of this it has been suggested, despite the universal spelling with b-, that the name could instead be Ir. Creig an Mhada ‘rock of the dog’ and refer to barking seals.


McKay, P. (2007): A Dictionary of Ulster Place-Names, p. 48; K. Muhr, 2009

Additional Information

Historical name form

Old FormRef. DateReference

Cragger, Ecclesia de

1306cEccles. Tax. 12

Creag a Bháid ""rock of the boat""

1834cJ O'D (OSNB) No. 29

Creig an Bháda

1969AGBP 115

Creig an Bháda

1989GÉ 79

Creig an Bháda ""rock of the boat""

1999Dict. Ulst. PN 48

Creig an Mhada ""rock of the dog""

1999Dict. Ulst. PN 48

Creig an Bháda ""rock of the boat""

2003HMC replies HMCjun03
Chregebaydy, nencon de1500Annates Ulst. 113
(?)Crieuad[a]1610cNorden's Map
Craigevaid1615Terrier (Reeves) 49
Craigevaid1615Terrier (O'Laverty) 326
Cregevadagh1620Ham. Patent [1620] xx
Cregyvad1622Ulster Visit. Reeves 47
Ballycregavada1623Ham. Copy Inq. [1623] xxxiv
Cregavada1623Ham. Copy Inq. [1623] xxxi
Cregevad1625cRaven Map Clandeboye 44
Creggavadda1627CPR Chas I 228
Ballecregavadie1630Ham. Patent [1630] xiii
Ballycregavada1630Ham. Patent [1630] xi
Cregevada1630Ham. Patent [1630] xi
Ballcragyvada1645Inq. Ult. (Down) $104 Car. I
Ballecragvvadie1645Inq. Ult. (Down) $104 Car. I
Cragyvadda1645Inq. Ult. (Down) $104 Car. I
Craigivadda1661BSD 124
Cregvad1661Trien. Visit. (Bramhall) 13
Creggavadda1662Inq. Ult. (Down) $23 Car. II
Craigavad1663Sub. Roll Down 284
Creggavad1664Trien. Visit. (Margetson) 23
Cregivad1681Ham. Copy Rental 109
Craigavad1745Map of Down (OSNB) No. 29
Craigavad1810Wm. Map (OSNB) No. 29
Craigafad1830cBnd. Sur. (OSNB) No. 29
Craigavad1830cTreas. Warrant (OSNB) No. 29
Castlereagh Lower
Parish in 1851
Place name ID
Place name type