Back to reality today, after the April Fool, as I explore the townland of Tullynakill in County Down.

Tullynakill is on the western shore of Strangford Lough, on the bay enclosed by Reagh Island and Mahee Island.  The southern boundary of the townland runs up to the water’s edge.  From this photo, it looks like you are completely hemmed in, but it’s definitely possible to sail out between the islands to the open lough.

Tullynakill loughshoreIf you prefer to travel on land, the Tullynakill Road runs north-south through the townland, connecting it with the neighbouring townlands of Ringneill and Ballymartin.

Tullynakill road signAn old graveyard is located on Tullynakill Road.   Park on the road, then walk along this lane between the fields to reach the graveyard.

Tullynakill churchyard entranceHere is one of the graves, for the Stewart family from Tullynakill.

Stewart grave from TullynakillAccording to the PLACENAMESNI website, the name Tullynakill comes from the Irish Tulaigh na Cille meaning “knoll of the church”.  There are records of the townland being called Tullynakill in 1615 and 1625, Tullomkill in 1617, and Tolinkill in 1659.

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you may be familiar with “Tully” from Tullycarnet, Tullynagee, Tullycore and Tullynagardy – all referring to small hills.  And “kill” often appears in townland names related to churches, as in Killarn, Kilmood and Killinakin.  You can see the ruins of Tullynakill’s church at the graveyard.

Tullynakill churchyardBack on the Tullynakill Road, I took one last photo of the gorse, which was just coming into bloom at the end of March.

Tullynakill gorse


Which county is Tullynakill in?  County Down

Which parish is the townland of Tullynakill in?  Tullynakill.

Which townlands border Tullynakill?  To the north, Ringneill.  To the west, Lisbane.  To the south, Ballymartin.  To the east, the lough.




    • What a pity the stone is gone – that would have been a good story. Or does your “living memory” claim mean that you know more than you’re telling? If I went looking in your garden would I stumble over a suspicious rockery?


    • Wrong daft Eddie was not a smuggler he was a hero by warning a judge in kircubbin that he was about to be robbed by the merry hearts of down a band of smugglers and pirates on strangford lough.


  1. My gran, whose family are among those in the graveyard, Jellie and Coey told me how to keep the parish church open the good Presbyterian stock of Ballydrain, Tullynakill and Ardmillan would attend services just to keep the numbers up.

    There might be a few homes locally that have some architectural salvage from the Church following it’s closure

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s interesting. I did see some Jellie graves there, including one for Sarah Jellie (died 1885), erected by Robert Jellie of Ringneel.


  2. We live in a small Townland called Carragullan. It’s not on any road signs, but is mentioned on gravestones and has a lake Carrgullan lough.Can you find it?? Clue…North of Ballygeegan south of Balloo. Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am trying to trace and find the graves of my great, great x …. The Venerable .Alexander McCreedy/ Mecredy and his wife Sarah( plus at least four infants). He died in c1798 at Tullynakill but was rector at Rathfriland and connected with Drumballygooley too . It seems strange that a cleric has appeared to vanish , so far. Any suggestions would be gratefully received. Great photos

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hope you find your McCreedy family. As you say, you would expect a cleric to be buried and recorded somewhere. And I can see Tullynakill mentioned on Ancestry.com for Rev Mecredy in the Index of Prerogative Wills, so it seems like you are on the right track. Have you tried asking the Killyleagh and District Branch of the North of Ireland Family History Society – they have a Facebook page. I will look at my existing photos, and keep an eye out for McCreedy/Mecredy in any other graveyards, but with Covid restrictions it could be a while before I’m back in Tullynakill.


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

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

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com 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.