Today I am in a quiet corner of Strangford Lough, in the townland of Ballyabundant.

Hobbiton pubBoth sheep and cattle graze together on Ballyabundant’s hills.

sheep and cattleBut the local pub is named after a different animal altogether.

Green Dragon mug

Cottages are built in an unusual style here, with grass instead of the thatch used elsewhere in Ireland.

blue door hobbit hole

The townland name comes from the Irish Baile Bunanna.  Linguists are divided on the meaning of the second element of the name.

Hobbiton hillside  “Bunanna” could refer to the way in which the houses are built into the base of the hill.

Hobbiton red doorOr it could refer to the local micro-climate, which warms the soil, allowing the farmers of Ballyabundant to harvest crops that don’t often thrive in Northern Ireland.

bananas oct13Cut Bananas Jan13 (1)Unfortunately, the lush growth from the mild climate has obscured the townland name on the local signposts.

Ballyabundant signBallyabundant can also be hard to find on the PLACENAMESNI website, Griffith’s Valuation and other historical records, but I’ve tracked down some reliable information on how to get there and back again.


Are you having trouble finding Ballyabundant?  The place really exists, and I spent a day there in November 2014, but it’s a long way from County Down.

Hobbiton Movie set signThe truth is that I was in New Zealand, visiting the set created for the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies.  The guided tour is a lot of fun, and I will simply send you to their website for all the details:  Click here for the link to

Hobbiton busA few more photos from that trip are on my other “Distant Drumlin” blog: click here for the link.

And what about the bananas?  Well, they are home-grown, but not from County Down.  A few years ago I had a temporary home in India, and these bananas grew in my Bangalore garden.  Again, the bananas featured on my Distant Drumlin blog: here is the link to a post about the banana harvest.

more information

Which townlands border Ballyabundant?

To the north, Ballybaggins and Tullynahobbit.

To the west,  Ballybilbo and Kiltolkien.

And if you think I’m travelling east to photograph Mordor, forget it.





    • Thank you!

      You know what I should have written? A post suggesting that the EU was going to ban townlands.


  1. Actually, the Remain campaign has said that the whole idea of townlands could be under threat if the UK exits the EU. Meanwhile the Leave campaign has said that, in the event of Brexit, more funding would obviously be available for townland development and promotion. This could include setting up links with other townland-like concepts around the Commonwealth, which to-date has been prevented by the European Court of Justice.

    Liked by 1 person

    • With that funding, we could arrange tours for readers of this website, to the sunnier Commonwealth regions. A twinning ceremony between Ballyabundant and Matamata?


    • Yes, an April Fool.
      I’m so pleased that you’ve been to Hobbiton too. It’s a delightful place. Just like the town of Matamata, and the whole of New Zealand, really.


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