This post from the townland of Ringneill has been a long time coming.

Ringneill Road signI drove along the Ringneill Road in July 2015, and stopped to take this photo.

Ringneill cropsSince then, the barley (or is it wheat?) has been harvested, and a new crop of wheat (or is it barley?) is growing.

Ringneill green May barleyThe water in the background of both photos is Strangford Lough.  The townland of Ringneill sticks out into the lough, about four or five miles southeast of Comber.   To reach it from Comber, take the Ballydrain Road and then turn left on to the Ringneill Road, which looks like this.

Ringneill Road As always, I focused on the fences and gateposts.  Over the hill in this picture, the road winds on and down to the causeway connecting the mainland with Reagh Island and Mahee Island.

Ringneill Road gatepostsAccording to the PLACENAMESNI website, the “ring” in the townland name comes from the Irish rinn meaning “promontory”.  (I’ve come across rinn in other loughside townlands, like Ringdufferin, Ringhaddy and Ringcreevy.)

Patrolling the end of the promontory this week, close to the causeway to Reagh Island, was this lovely group of eider ducks, complete with six ducklings.

Ringneill eidersEiders (Somateria mollissima) are sea ducks, famous for their soft feathers. According to an article by Stephen Colton in the Irish News, “they are resident all year along our rocky north and north-western coasts and can been seen from Strangford Lough in the east all the way round to the western shores of Streedagh estuary in Co Sligo”. (Click here to read the whole article.)

On an earlier visit to the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust in the neighbouring townland of Castle Espie, I saw this report of eiders in the lough.

Castle Espie chalkboardCastle Espie may also be relevant to the “neill” part of Ringneill.  According to the PLACENAMESNI website, “neill” may come from the Irish an aoil meaning “of the lime”.  In the past the lime quarried in Castle Espie was probably exported from quays at Ringneill. (Castle Espie now has a birdwatching space called the Limekiln Observatory.)

I will finish with a photo from Tullynakill graveyard, of a gravestone with an older spelling of “Ringneel”.

Tullynakill grave of Ritchie of Ringneel

more information

Which county is Ringneill in?  County Down

Which civil parish is Ringneill in?  Tullynakill

Which townlands border Ringneill?  Ballydrain, Tullynakill and Reagh Island.

Click here to see a map of Ringneill on Townlands.IE

Click here to read about eider ducks.

And finally, click here to read more about the townland name on PLACENAMESNI.ORG

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