More from Portaferry today.  This town on the Ards Peninsula in County Down has already given us the townland of Tullyboard.  This time I’m exploring Ballyphilip.

portaferry-sign A large part of the town of Portaferry lies inside Ballyphilip, including the High Street, the Square, the arts venue of Portico and the tourist office (but not the castle or aquarium, which are in the townland of Ballymurphy).

portaferry-from-windmill The name Ballyphilip is used for the townland and its civil parish, and for this church in Portaferry.  The other name on the sign – Ardquin – is also a townland and parish.

ballyphilip-church-signAccording to the PLACENAMESNI website, Ballyphilip started off as the English name “Phyllipestoun”.  The name Philip was popular among Anglo-Norman settlers, but there is no certainty on who the Philip of Philip’s town was.  Later, the place-name was gaelicised as Baile Philib.

Down on the lough shore, you can enter and leave Ballyphilip on the Portaferry-Strangford ferry.

strangford-ferryOn the day of my visit, the view from Portaferry was calm and peaceful.

cuan-shore-boat-portaferryBut the waters of Strangford Lough and the Irish Sea can be dangerous.  Across the road from the ferry terminal is the lifeboat station.  The current building dates from 2009, but a lifeboat service has operated in this area since the 19th century, based in Cloughey and then Portavogie before moving to Portaferry in 1980.

portaferry-rnliI will finish with the only wildlife that I spotted in Ballyphilip – two black-headed gulls.  As these gulls have white faces in winter, the dark face is a giveaway that I took the photo last June.


more information

Click here to read more about the Portaferry lifeboat and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.

Which county is Ballyphilip in?   County Down

Which parish is Ballyphilip in?   Ballyphilip

Which townlands border Ballyphilip?  To the north, Ballymurphy and Ballyminnish.  To the east, inland, Ballynichol, Derry and Parson Hall.  To the south, along the coast, Tullyboard.

Click here to see a map of Ballyphilip on TOWNLANDS.IE.

Click here to read more about the townland name on the website of


  1. […] Some sources suggest that Ballyquintin is named for a Saint Quintin, but according to the name is more likely to come from an Anglo-Norman family.  Ballyquintin was probably once known as Quinton’s town, or “Quintonton”, then as Baile Chuintín in Irish.  This would follow the pattern of the Portaferry townland “Felipton” becoming Ballyphilip. […]


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