Big thank you from

Recounting tales of townlands

by Rambler 17/05/2002

ERUDITE readers will have noticed that last week I discussed certain townlands, like Kilminioge, in the context of the Parish of Magheralin whereas some say they are in Moira.

Let me explain: it was only in 1725 that 20 townlands were divided off from Magheralin to form the Parish of Moira ('Moyrath').

The parish is all one, still, in the Ordnance and RC traditions. Sometime in the 18th century, a shortened phonetic version, i.e. 'Maralin', or 'Marling', was tagged on, but the Ordnance Survey people are reinstated Magheralin ('My Little Finn's Church').

My roots lie in Kilminioge, in the Parish of Magheralin, (Moira), hence I can supplement some of Dr. Muhr's findings, for instance she cites O'Lavery as mentioning 'A little eminence in a field belonging to Charles Byrne where ancient bones have been found near an ancient well called 'Tubber'.

Charles was 'Charlie' to his neighbours.

I knew the man well and his brother Joe and sister Kitty. And I was a spectator (circa. 1936) when my family filled barrels with water from 'Toby' and carted it off to a cattle trough.

That 'little experience' bore several 'Fairy Thorns' which Charlie regarded as sacred.

He plaited the twigs to clear turning space for his horses, and wouldn't have pruned a leaf.

Alas, during the general strike of 1926, when coal wasn't to be had, a thief hacked the trees down! Everyone knew who! The man had a wife and growing children needing 'firing'. But nobody' said nothing".

The trees grew on the bank of the un-named stream separating Kilminioge and Ballymackeonan and the well was a few hundred yards upstream, near the Allen homestead, which is in 'Gort na Mony'

The home of the retired vet that I wrote about last year. The authority on 'murrain' in cattle.

History indicates a rather fanciful yarn about Rona Finn, marking out the site for his first church.

We had to fight his corner and the opposition (a reigning local King) threw his book of psalms (Psalter) into a nearby lake, from which an other retrieved it.

The Psalter contains 'The Divine Office' which Ronan would have said at certain hours daily.

Legmore means 'big hollow'. Maybe there was a lake there? There is certainly a bottomless one there now, where the lime quarry was, i.e. off the 'back o' the wood road.'

However, everyone else has failed to pinpoint the exact site of The Church of Little Finn' so I will not speculate.

Nearby, Tullyloob, 'hillock of the bends', was well named.

What used to be the Darganstown Road and now renamed 'Old Kilmore Road', certainly has bends.

The one opposite 'Darganstown House' had a notorious outcrop of rocks, which made it an accident black spot. Happily, the hazard has now gone.

The hamlet nearby has (had) so many families named Brown that I have always wondered why it wasn't called 'Brownstown' instead of 'Darganstown'.

Anyhow, I have enjoyed rambling around Magheralin (or is it Moira!) in the steps of Dr. Muhr.

PS: A former colleague of mine, sadly since deceased, once got a mild rebuke from the great Sir. John Lavery.

He had written to the eminent painter asking for his autograph and mentioned 'Maralin'.
Back came the autograph with a note "By 'Maralin', I presume you mean 'Magheralin', where I spent the happiest years of my life". I saw the original reply.

Ulster Star