Ballyvarnet is on the edge of the town of Bangor.  In 2019 the townland name is being used for these new houses.

The southern half of the townland lies inside the Clandeboye Estate, home of the Marchioness of Dufferin and Ava.  But that doesn’t mean that it’s off-limits.  I was able to follow this path, the “Clandeboye Way”, to explore the townland in July 2015.

Ballyvarnet pathI walked from the entrance on the Crawfordsburn Road.  The horses on one side of the path found me interesting.

Ballyvarnet horses and gateThe cattle on the other side showed no interest at all.

Clandeboye cattle sitting downThis lake is the boundary between Ballyvarnet and Conlig townlands.  Photos from the rest of my walk appear in my post from Conlig.

Lake on Clandeboye Way (1)But that’s not the end of Ballyvarnet.  The townland extends north of the Clandeboye Estate, in a narrow strip all the way to the shore of Belfast Lough.  This northern part includes Strickland’s Glen, which I visited in February 2016.

Stricklands Glen path in BallyvarnetThe Bryan’s Burn flows through Strickland’s Glen, separating Ballyvarnet from the townland of Corporation (which covers most of Bangor).   The stream is criss-crossed by a series of paths and bridges leading down to the sea.

Stricklands Glen Bryansburn waterfall in Ballyvarnet When you reach the shore at Smelt Mill Bay, you can turn left towards Belfast or right towards Bangor, and walk along the North Down Coastal Path, which is part of the Ulster Way.

Smelt Mill BayAccording to the PLACENAMESNI website, the name Ballyvarnet derives from the Irish Baile Bhearnan meaning “townland of the gap”.  The spelling of the townland name has changed over the years, so as well as “varnet”, I have seen “vernon”, “vernet”, and “varnen”.  Here are two different versions from gravestones in Bangor.

Gravestone for Hamilton of Ballyvarnet (1)Gravestone for Henderson of Ballyvarnet

more information

Click on these links for information on the walking routes in Ballyvarnet:

Which county is Ballyvarnet in?   County Down

Which civil parish is Ballyvarnet in?   Bangor

Which townlands border Ballyvarnet?   To the north, Belfast Lough.  To the east, moving south, Corporation, Rathgael, Lisbane, Conlig and Whitespots.  To the southwest, Ballyskeagh. To the west, moving north, Ballyleidy, Bangor Bog and Carnalea.

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

Click here for information on the PLACENAMESNI website about the history of the name Ballyvarnet.


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