Today’s townland is Killeen, on a hill on the eastern edge of Belfast.
This steep climb takes us from Massey Avenue up the Belmont Road to the Ballymiscaw Road. Looking back downhill from the junction with Moss Road gives a great view over Belfast.
Last year, I took this photo of Stormont from a hill in Lisnabreeny, without knowing that it would prove useful today. The townland of Killeen is the land of trees and green fields to the left of Parliament Buildings. A stretch of that 11% gradient road is even visible through the trees.
The island of Ireland has more than 80 Killeen townlands. Many of them derive the name from the Irish cillín meaning ‘little church’. However, this one seems to have its origin in a different word – coillín – meaning ‘little wood’. Here is one image from the woodland walk in the northwestern corner of the Stormont Estate.
I haven’t found any signs or gravestones for Killeen, although old maps show a Killeen Cottage on the site of Cloverhill Gardens, and a farm called Killeen House in the neighbouring townland of Ballymiscaw.
Looking for more modern signs, I learned that if you go house-hunting in the Millreagh development in Dundonald you can choose a house laid out in the Carrowreagh design (the correct townland for your home) or the Killeen (maybe 2 or 3 miles away). Unfortunately for me, the names don’t appear on the finished houses.
So there’s no written proof of Killeen’s existence, but its crops are thriving, ready for harvest soon.
My previous career in legislative drafting may make me the only person interested in this fact: the townland of Killeen is mentioned in a 1933 law about the management of the Stormont Estate. The Schedule to the Act describes the Stormont Estate as “lands, buildings and premises at Stormont in the Townlands of Ballymiscaw, Killeen and Ballycloughan, in the Barony of Castlereagh Lower and County of Down”. Click here for a link to the Stormont Regulation and Government Property Act (Northern Ireland) 1933.
Which county is Killeen in? County Down
Which civil parish is Killeen in? Split between Holywood and Dundonald
Which townlands border Killeen? To the west Ballymaghan and Ballycloghan. To the east Ballymiscaw.
The website Townlands.IE displays the two parts of Killeen in separate maps. Click here for the Holywood portion, and Click here for the Dundonald portion.
Finally, visit the PLACENAMESNI website for more information on the history of the name Killeen.