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.

The daffodils aren’t blooming this month, but the robin is probably still in the trees.

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…..

…and a running track, in another park. This park is named after local councillor Alderman Tommy Patton (1914-1993).

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?

And I found one gravestone in Holywood, for the Pollock family of Ballymisert.


Which county is Ballymisert in?   County Down

Which civil parish is Ballymisert in?   Holywood

Which townlands border Ballymisert?   To the east, Ballycloghan and Ballymaghan. To the south, Strandtown. To the west Sydenham Intake.

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

Click here for information on the PLACENAMESNI website about the history of the name Ballymisert.


  1. […] The name also appears on Strandtown Electrical & Hardware shop, Strandtown Hall and Strandtown primary school (just inside Ballyhackamore townland).  The introduction of the name ‘Sydenham’ for this area hasn’t killed off the older name of Strandtown in the way it has in neighbouring Ballymisert. […]


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