Knocknagoney townland lies on the edge of Belfast Lough, between Belfast and Holywood. Road and rail traffic passes through Knocknagoney constantly, slowing down only for a busy road junction and a Tesco supermarket.

But I was looking for the quieter side of the townland, so I went to two parks.  First, I checked the map to confirm that Knocknagoney Park was in the right townland. It actually straddles two townlands: Knocknagoney and Ballymaghan.

Knocknagoney Park signYou can begin to see here, as the park rises up the hill, how the townland got its name.  Knocknagoney comes from the Irish Cnoc na gCoiníní  meaning “hill of the rabbits”.

On the Old Holywood Road is the entrance to a second green space: Redburn Country Park.

Redburn Country Park Equestrian ParkingI was hoping that “equestrian parking” would mean a wooden rail for cowboys to tie up their horses, and was disappointed to find an ordinary carpark with extra space for trailers.  But the woodland walks were anything but disappointing.

Redburn Country Park fernsFrom the top of the “hill of the rabbits”, I was able to see right across Belfast.

Belfast from RedburnIt was freezing – see the dusting of snow on the hill on the far side of the lough in the next photo?  I didn’t spot any rabbits on the hill.  They must have been hiding from the cold, from the dogs being walked in the park, or maybe even from the hovering kestrel.

Belfast and kestrel from RedburnHere’s another shot of the kestrel.

Kestrel from RedburnIt was getting too cold and dark for me, so I went on (by car, not on horseback) to the next townland of Holywood, where I found two graves for Knocknagoney families.  The first one, from 1852, was leaning at a precarious angle.

Jackson of Knocknagoney grave in HolywoodThe second one from 1834 was lying flat on the grass.

gravestone for O'Neill of Knocknagoney in HolywoodI will go back to Redburn Country Park to see its wildflowers later in the year, and will update this post if I find any bluebells, or even the eponymous rabbits.


more information

Click here for a map of Knocknagoney on Townlands.IE.

Click here for a link to WalkNI’s information on Redburn Country Park.

Which county is Knocknagoney in?  County Down.

Which civil parish is Knocknagoney in?  Holywood.

Which townlands border Knocknagoney?  To the north, Holywood (with the boundary running along Jackson’s Road).  To the south, Ballymaghan (with the boundary running through Knocknagoney Park).  To the east, at the top of the hill, the corners of Ballykeel and Ballymiscaw.  To the west, Belfast Lough and the reclaimed land of Sydenham Intake.




  1. The Irish name interests me because of its similarity to the Ulster-Scots word for a rabbit which is “coney” or “conie”. This has been preserved in the County Down town land of “Coney Island”…..


        • I’ve added another post about the Belfast hills today, but it still doesn’t show Cavehill. So, just for you, I’ve added an extra page. On the front page of my blog, you should see the word “Belfast”, near the top, beside my name. Click on “Belfast” to see a couple of photos of Cavehill. One was taken in Redburn Country Park. The closer view of Napoleon’s Nose was taken from a ship, when I was on the ferry from Belfast to Stranraer in Scotland.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Fantastic! I can see the “nose,” all right. Belfast looks small when viewed in the context of the mountain. More like a town than a big city. I think of it as industrial, but there is so much greenery all around.

            Liked by 1 person

  2. […] An Irish word for hill – Cnoc – has become “Knock” in English and has found its way into many placenames. Perhaps the most famous one is Knock Shrine in County Mayo. County Down has its own share of Knocks, including Ballyknock, Magheraknock, Knocksticken and two which I have already visited – Knockinelder and Knocknagoney. […]


  3. Knocknagoney, as you say, is in County Down but Sydenham is classed az County Antrim. Do you know where the County birder line would be at all?
    I lived in Sydenham but went to Knocknagoney Primary School havibg started there when our family lived off the Garnerville Road.


  4. Knocknagoney, as you say, is in County Down but Sydenham is classed as County Antrim. Do you know where the County border line would be at all?

    I lived in Sydenham but went to Knocknagoney Primary School having started there when our family lived off the Garnerville Road.


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