Lisnabreeny townland is in the Castlereagh Hills, to the southeast of Belfast.  Those hills aren’t massive, but Lisnabreeny stands at the highest point, 170 metres above sea level.

The large trees in that photo are on the edge of an earthen mound known as a ring fort or rath (from the Irish ráth).  This rath is probably the one from which the townland took the Irish name Lios na Bruíne meaning ‘fort of the hostel or fairy dwelling’, giving the English version Lisnabreeny.

The Ulster Archaeological Survey surveyed the rath in 2007.  Their report is silent on the presence of fairies, but ends with this question:

“Situated as it is on hills overlooking Belfast, Lagan Valley and approaches from Strangford it may have been in a position to witness the arrival of the Vikings towards the end of the first millennium and possibly the advance of John De Courcy towards Carrickfergus on the north shore of Belfast Lough at the beginning of the second millennium, it therefore begs the question did either of these two parties become aware of this place?”

On the day of my visit, the rath witnessed the arrival of a Cunard cruise ship and a Stena Line ferry.

Who would see any approaching invaders today? Mainly cattle, though they seem unlikely to lift their heads to look north to the lough…

….or south to the Mournes.

The cattle have their own water supply.

On a larger scale, Lisnabreeny Service Reservoir collects water for humans.

Much of the milk that I buy comes from Farmview Dairies on the Lisnabreeny Road.

In 1991 Lisnabreeny House became the site of Belfast’s first religiously integrated school – Lagan College.

Before it was a school, Lisnabreeny House had been the home of the writer Nesca Robb (who donated it to the National Trust), then a youth hostel, then a base for the United States Army during the Second World War.  The school is marked on my sketch map of the townland. Lisnabreeny is in green; it is ringed by the names of neighbouring townlands.


more information

There is a lovely walk through the townland of Lisnabreeny and along the Cregagh Glen – click here for a link to an article by Linda Stewart in the Belfast Telegraph from 2009

Which county is Lisnabreeny in?  County Down

Which civil parish is Lisnabreeny in?  Knockbreda

Which townlands border Lisnabreeny? To the north, Castlereagh.  To the east, Ballykeel, Crossnacreevy and Slatady. To the south, Clontonakelly. To the west, Knockbreckan, Cregagh and Ballymaconaghy.

Click here to see my photographs of gravestones connected to Lisnabreeny.

Click here for a map of Lisnabreeny on Townlands.IE.

And finally, click here to read about the townland’s name on my usual source – PLACENAMESNI.ORG.


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