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Malone Lower, County Antrim


Ir. Maigh Luain [my looin] ‘Luan’s plain’.


Malone was not originally a townland name but rather the name of a petty kingdom or territory. The district of Malone included Ballicromoge, Ballinym Raharr, Ballyodhran and Ballyvally which are described as townlands in 1605. Ballicromoge is obviously to be identified with Cromac, which is well-known since it has given name to Cromac Street at the bottom of the Ormeau Road but which is no longer recognized as a townland. Its name derives from Irish Cromóg 'little bend or turn' and it appears to refer to a bend in the course of the river Lagan which borders it on the east. Ballinym Raharr represents Irish Baile na mBráthar 'townland of the brothers or friars'. The name survives in the form 'Friars' Bush' which refers to an ancient graveyard near the bottom of the Stranmillis Road. This graveyard is likely to mark the site of a former monastery, possibly the chapel referred to as Kilpatrick in Malone in the Antrim Inquisition of 1605. Ballyodran represents the southern portion of Malone Upper townland. The name is preserved in 'Ballydrain Lake', the name of a lake in Malone Golf Course which is on the opposite side of Upper Malone Road from Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park. It is possible that Ballyodran was the original name for the entire townland of Malone Upper. Ballyodran may represent Baile Uí Dhreáin '(O')Drain's townland'. Woulfe informs us that the family of Ó Dreáin appear to have been forced to remove from Roscommon to Antrim in the course of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. Ballivallie is likely to derive from Irish Baile an Bhealaigh 'townland of the pass'. It is written as Ballyvallie al. Ballynvallie al. Toughmanagh in 1669 and the alias name Toughmanagh is obviously to be identified with Taughmonagh, the name of a district (and also a housing estate) in the modern townland of Malone Upper. The name Taughmonagh may derive from Irish Tuath Monach 'the tuath or district of the Monaigh (tribe)'. The latter, whose name was also written Manaigh and forms the final element of the name of the county of Fermanagh, are said to have been expelled from Leinster in the early Christian period and settled in Fermanagh and also in the east of Co. Down.

Farther down the Lagan, the townland of Malone Lower contains the well-known district of Stranmillis, the name of which derives from Irish An Sruthán Milis 'the sweet stream'. There is no stream here and it is likely that this was a local name for the section of the Lagan above the point where the water ceases to be tidal and is therefore fresh or 'sweet'. This seems to be the place referred to in 1644 in Friar Ó Mealláin's diary as bun a'tSrutháin Mhilis, where Henry mac Tuathal Ó Néill was sent to plunder the district in the war against the English. Deirdre Flanagan suggests that the element bun (literally 'foot') in bun a'tSrutháin Mhilis could refer to a ford which is attested on the Lagan at this point.


McKay, P. 'Belfast place names and the Irish language' in Belfast and the Irish Language (2006:23)

Additional Information

Historical name form

Old FormRef. DateReference

the playnes of Moylon

1611O'Laverty ii 367

Malone Turnpike

1791Williamson's Belfast

The Plains

1791Williamson's Belfast
Moyellon1604CPR Jas I 49a
Moylon1604CPR Jas I 49a
Mylon1604CPR Jas I 49a
Maloan1605CPR Jas I 73a
Maloane1605Inq. Ant. (DK) 51
Maloane1605Inq. Ant. (DK) 51
Malone1605Inq. Ant. (DK) 48
Moylone1608CPR Jas I 121b
Mylone1608CPR Jas I 120a,121b
Tuoghmoylone1608CPR Jas I 120a
Moylone1620Inq. Ult. (Antrim) Jac.I $3
Milone1621CPR Jas I 523ab
Moylone1621Inq. Ult. (Antrim) Jac.I $7
Moylone1621CPR Jas I 524b
Mylone1621CPR Jas I 524b
Mylone1621Inq. Ult. (Antrim) Jac.I $7
Mylone1621Inq. Ult. (Antrim) Jac.I $7
Toughmoylone1621CPR Jas I 523a
Tuoghmoglone1621Inq. Ult. (Antrim) Jac.I $7
Tuoghmoylon1621CPR Jas I 523b
Tuoghmoylone1621CPR Jas I 523a
Mylone1659cCensus 1659 9
Lower Libertyes of Malone1669HMR Ant. 24
Lower Malone1780Lendrick Map
Belfast Upper
Parish in 1851
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