Glass Moss is a tiny townland in County Down, measuring only 37 acres. It straddles the A21 road between Comber and Newtownards. There are no signs to mark the townland, but it includes the intersection of the dual carriageway with the Ringcreevy and Ballyhenry Roads.
Behind that signpost for Newtownards is a farm track, which used to be a railway line.
This was a branch line of the Belfast & County Down Railway, which left the main line at Comber and travelled through Glass Moss on the way to Newtownards (from 1850) and then to Donaghadee (from 1861). There was a level crossing and cottage where the railway tracks crossed the Ballyhenry Road. The railway closed in 1950, but the cottage still stands, and the tracks are still visible on the road.
This townland has no glass, and no moss, but its name does have an interesting history, as described on the PLACENAMESNI website.
In other places the word “moss” would mean a peat bog, but here it means common land. Far from being a peat bog, the land is actually very fertile, with fields of vegetables like these cabbages.
The glass part of the name comes from the history of digging sand here, and exporting it to Britain, for the production of glass.
According to the PLACENAMESNI website, the name Glass Moss is not documented until c.1830. Before then, this area and neighbouring Longlands may have been part of a single townland called Ballynaganemye, which in turn came from the Irish Baile na Gainimhe meaning “townland of the sand”.
As I haven’t found any sand, or even any signs with the townland name, I will just finish with more cabbages.
Which county is Glass Moss in? County Down
Which civil parish is Glass Moss in? Comber
Which townlands border Glass Moss? Ballyhenry Minor, Ballyrickard, Longlands and Cherryvalley.
For more information about the history of Comber, I recommend-
- the book “A Chronicle of Comber” by Desmond Rainey and Laura Spence, and
- the website of the Comber Historical Society, from which you can download “The Story of Comber” by Norman Nevin.
Finally , click here for the PLACENAMESNI website to read more about the history of Glass Moss.
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