I left County Down this week to visit the townland of Deer Park in County Antrim.
Deer Park is 1500 acres of flat farmland on the eastern shore of Lough Neagh. It was once a park stocked with deer and pheasants for the local landowner Lord Conway, Marquess of Hertford. Today there are cattle.
I consulted the website of the Northern Ireland Place-Names Project, and learned that this townland may have had the Irish name Tonnaigh meaning ‘marsh or moor’ before it became a Deer Park with an English name.
The highlight of my visit was Portmore Lough Nature Reserve, run by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB).
I arrived on a rainy day. Such heavy rain that my first response to the sign about birds migrating here was “Why?”But then I found the warm dry hide.
On the rafts in front of me terns were feeding their chicks; and the calls of terns and gulls above me almost drowned out the sound of the rain.
Click here for a link to the RSPB website with details of the reserve at Portmore Lough.
For Deer Park and the other townlands of Glenavy Parish, a great online resource is the website Glenavyhistory.com.
Which county is Deer Park in? County Antrim
Which civil parish is Deer Park in? Glenavy
What townlands border Deer Park? To the east, Ballinderry, Ballyvanen, Feumore, Lurgill and Portmore. To the south, Montiaghs.
Click here for a map of Deer Park on Townlands.IE.
And finally, click here to read more about the history of the name on PLACENAMESNI.org.
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