New book unveils Dalriada family name connections

Family names in the Glens of Antrim explores the historical and social significance of the surnames of the Glens of Antrim and the area's connection with south-west Scotland.
Family names in the Glens of Antrim explores the historical and social significance of the surnames of the Glens of Antrim and the area's connection with south-west Scotland.

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Down Memory Lane

A new book about Northern Irish surnames has revealed a lasting link between the regions that formed the ancient kingdom of Dalriada.

Brian Turner’s Family names in the Glens of Antrim, published by the Ulster Historical Foundation in the summer, explores the historical and social significance of the family names of a distinctive region in the north-east of Ireland – the Glens of Antrim.

From flicking through the book, the area’s strong shared identity and significant relationship with south-west Scotland is obvious.

Many of the Antrim surnames – including McAlister, which appears on the book’s front cover – would be considered by many as ‘Kintyre names’.

Other names mentioned in the book include: MacEachran, McKillop, McCormick, MacKay, Campbell, McConnachie, Galbraith, Paterson, Ralston, McMillan, MacKinnon, Watson, Armour, McLean, Robertson and Anderson.

Drawing on many years of research, the author describes and explains the evolution of the historical landscape through an examination of the names of its people.

The reader will gain a deep insight into the origins of the population groups which have formed the present community.

The hardback book is fully illustrated and features numerous surname distribution maps as well as many colour photographs – including shots of Campbeltown’s Main Street, Campbeltown Cross, Kilkerran Cemetery, Dunaverty Bay, Keil Cemetery, Carradale Harbour, Kilchenzie churchyard and Kilmaluag in Glenbarr – and cartographic material.

Born in Cork City and having lived in counties Cork, Offaly, Donegal, Antrim and Down, author Brian Turner is a recognised authority on the subject of family names and has been studying these in the Glens of Antrim for many years.

He was the founding director of Down County Museum in Downpatrick and previously curator of local history at the Ulster Museum in Belfast.

He has originated and participated in many studies of locality since completing his doctoral thesis on aspects of County Antrim history, and has written widely on Irish local and cultural history, including an interest in relationships with other places, particularly Scotland, Norway and North America.

He is currently honorary president of the Federation for Ulster Local Studies.

Established in 1956, the book’s publisher Ulster Historical Foundation is a registered charity and self-sustaining not-for-profit organisation.

It offers its extensive knowledge to help people around the world trace and share their Irish and Scots-Irish history and to broaden their understanding of and interest in the rich history of the province of Ulster.

In pursuit of this goal, the foundation provides a range of activities, including genealogical and historical research services as well as book publishing.

For more information on Family names in the Glens of Antrim, visit https://www.booksireland.org.uk/store/upcoming-releases/family-names