Gilnahirk is a mostly rural townland on a hillside on the eastern edge of Belfast, in County Down.  They have a Presbyterian church – no surprise there.

Gilnahirk Presbyterian churchBut I wasn’t expecting this.

pygmy goatsIf you follow the sign in the carpark of Hillmount Garden Centre, you may be greeted by these characters.

pygmy goat 1pygmy goat 2And guess what? The goats have as good a claim as the Presbyterians to be masters of this townland.  According to the PLACENAMESNI website, the name “Gilnahirk” probably derives from the Irish “Éadan Ghiolla na hAdhairce” meaning “the hill brow of the horn bearer”.  What kind of horn?  PLACENAMESNI says that it is most likely to be a drinking horn, but could conceivably refer to a hunting horn or musical horn.  I say, why not pygmy goat horns?


    • Exactly. Except that I have quite a few friends in Gilnahirk, and they are all lovely. You couldn’t meet a nicer group of people than the Tuesday morning badminton players!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. A chuckle this morning, going from the staid Presbyterian church to the wee goats. What are they raised for? I can’t imagine that goats would make good pets, but maybe the little goats are easier to manage as a herd?


    • I don’t know what the goats are for, apart from my amusement. I need to go back to the garden centre and ask the staff there. I’m a bad blogger, only doing half the research. But I need to buy more seed for the bird feeders, so that’s an excuse for another trip to Gilnahirk this week.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. […] Even without the forts and flax, the townland name will survive, as it is used for every road in the district.  Let’s start with the simple one, Lisleen Road.  The southern half of this road is in Lisleen townland; its northern half is in Gilnahirk. […]


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