Today’s townland is Ballymisert in East Belfast. The name Ballymisert isn’t well known today. You’re more likely to hear people talk about Sydenham or Ashfield, Holywood Road or Circular Road. Even the name of the railway station – Ballymisert Halt – has been changed to Sydenham.Belmont Park takes up a large area of the southeast part of the townland. April brings a display of daffodils in the park.
According to the website of the Northern Ireland Place-Name Project, the name Ballymisert comes from the Irish Baile Machaire meaning “townland of the plain”. The plains may once have been sand dunes or mud flats, but are now football pitches…..
Between the two parks, the middle of Ballymisert consists of urban streets, with houses, shops and schools built around the Holywood Road and Circular Road. Ashfield Boys and Ashfield Girls schools are, I think, named after an old Ashfield Dairy.
Walking through the townland didn’t help me find the name Ballymisert. I was hopeful about a housing scheme called Ballymisert Heights, but the name isn’t visible on the outside of the building.
So I turned to old maps. Can you see the word Ballymisert written in grey capital letters across the middle of this 19th century Griffiths map?
Which county is Ballymisert in? County Down
Which civil parish is Ballymisert in? Holywood