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Ballyhackamore, County Down


Ir. Baile an Chacamair ‘townland of the slob land or mud flat’


The current spelling of Ballyhackamore appears on one of Raven’s maps c.1625, but the townland seems to have been referred to in the Earldom of Ulster as early as 1333, as Kakebertoun.  The distinctive element appears to be a derivative of Irish cac ‘excrement’, akin to cacamas meaning ‘refuse, dross’, and refer to soft mud or slob land.  Although Ballyhackamore is now inland, its western boundary is the Connswater and it may have bordered on part of Belfast Lough before modern land-reclamation schemes. The Chart of Belfast Lough in 1693 shows the Connswater as well as the Lagan with wide estuaries, mostly ‘dry at low water’, and east of the Connswater a large area of marsh fed by another stream (Young’s Old Belfast, 147).  Lawson’s map of Belfast in 1789 shows a huge extent of sand ‘dry at low water’ and a wide band of marsh lying inland of the outflow of the Conns Water, bordered by the channel of a more easterly tributary (Young’s Old Belfast, frontispiece 2).  It is at the crossing of this tributary inland (possible in Ballycloghan townland) that the road from Bangor then divided from the road to Newtownards.  Marmion’s Ports of Ireland described the plans from 1729 to deepen Belfast harbour by dredging and cutting a straight channel for the river Lagan to the anchorage at the pool of Garmoyle, by which process the 17 acres of Queen’s Island were created in 1841, followed by a new quay in Co. Down (Marmion 1855, 341-8).  However, information on reclamation at Ballyhackamore is harder to obtain, although it may once have included part of the townland of Strandtown to the seaward side of it.


McKay, P. (2007) A Dictionary of Ulster Place-Names, p.13; K. Muhr, 2009;

Additional Information

T., 1851 Census

Historical name form

Old FormRef. DateReference

Baile Sheaca, mór "big frost town""

1834cJ O'D (OSNB) No. 29

Baile Hacamar

1969AGBP 113

Baile Hacamar

1989GÉ 19

>or Baile an Chacamair "the townland of the slob-land"

1991NIPNP posters Belfast

origin uncertain; possibly Bealach Achomair "short >

1991NIPNP posters Belfast

Baile an Chacamair "townland of the slob land or mud flat"

1999Dict. Ulst. PN 13

(?)Baile Hacamar "Anglo-Norman personal or surname"

2001NIPNP replies PMcK/KH

(?)Baile an Chacamair "townland of the slob land or mud flat"

2001NIPNP replies PMcK/KH
(?)Kakebertoun1333Inq. Earldom Ulster iii 65
Ballihackamer1605CPR Jas I 73a
Ballcackamer1620Ham. Patent [1620] xx
Ballechackamore1623Ham. Copy Inq. [1623] xxxiv
Ballehackamore, part of1625cRaven Map Clandeboye 36
Ballehacamur or Ballechakomer1630Ham. Patent [1630] xiii
Ballechachanur al'' Ballechakamer1645Inq. Ult. (Down) $104 Car. I
B:haghamore1659cCensus 1659 88
Ballechachamer1661BSD 127
(?)Ballyhaghie1663Sub. Roll Down 284
Ballyhackamore1681Ham. Copy Rental 109
Ballyhacamore1737Reg. Deeds abstracts i $610
Ballykackamore1810Wm. Map (OSNB) No. 29
Ballyhackamore1830cBnd. Sur. (OSNB) No. 29
Castlereagh Lower
Parish in 1851
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