Moneyreagh (or Moneyrea)

This is Moneyreagh.  It’s a village and a townland in County Down. The name probably derives from the Irish “Mónaidh Riabhach” meaning “grey bog or moor” (according to the website of the Northern Ireland Place Name Project).

There is still plenty of grey around, in the churchyard and old school building, but there is also a thriving community.

moneyreagh churchyard

moneyrea national school signYou’d think by now the village would have settled on one spelling of the name, but no, they still have “Moneyrea Primary School” and “Moneyreagh Store”.

Moneyreagh StoreIn April 2014 a plaque was unveiled to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of a local poet, Robert Huddleston.  Click here for a report of the unveiling of the plaque.

Huddleston Plaque MoneyreaHere are some lines from Robert Huddleston, from a long Ulster-Scots poem called “Doddery Willowaim”, appropriate to the current wintry weather in Northern Ireland.

“The nights get crabbit, dark, an’ bleak,
The days but doncy shortlin’ peep;
While Summer cheers the southern Pole
And warm the Antartic regions Sol;
While caul’ December’s cranreuch breath,
Does wreaselin freeze the faded heath.”



    • Not a clue! OK That’s not entirely true. The poem is written in Ulster-Scots, which is, depending on who you ask, a dialect of English spoken in Scotland and Northern Ireland, or a separate language.
      I understand some of the words – “caul” for “cold” for example, and “crabbit” for “miserable”. But “doncy” is a mystery to me. When I tried googling it, I just got results about donkeys.
      Cranreuch is some kind of frost, I think.
      There will be more about languages on this blog as time goes on, as long as I can avoid the politics that beset the promotion of both Irish and Ulster Scots here in Northern Ireland.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. […] Churchyards are turning out to be treasure-stores of townland names.  The names are  inscribed on many gravestones from the 18th and 19th centuries.  Occasionally, if I’m really lucky, they are still legible.  Here are two Granshaw stones, complete with Ws.  The grave of “Eliza Haslett of Granshaw”  is in Granshaw churchyard; the grave of “Susanna Young of Granshaw” is in Moneyreagh. […]


  2. Re. “doncy”

    DSL (Dictionary of the Scots Language)

    DONSIE, DONSY, adj. Also doncie, -(e)y, dauncey.

    1. Unfortunate, luckless, hapless poor, mean, despicable
    2. Glum, dejected, wretched.
    3. Of persons and things: sickly, feeble, delicate
    4. Dull, stupid (may have been influenced by dunce.]
    6. Neat, tidy; sedate; often with the idea of affectation and self-importance

    Liked by 1 person

Now it's over to you - leave a comment!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.