Kirk


The word 'kirk' for 'church' is common in the north of England and in Scotland, areas where the Danes settled in the tenth century.  (The Scandinavians did not use the sound 'ch'.)  Kirk is a Scottish name of various local origins, from residence near a church.  The Dumfriesshire name Kirkhoe, now rare, also became Kirk.

In Ireland the name is most common in counties Antrim and Louth, though a particular concentration was noted in the parish of Killaney, Barony of Upper Castlereagh, Co. Down, in the mid-nineteenth century.  In Co. Monaghan the name Kirke is thought to be a variant of Carragher, Gaelic Mac Fhearchair, through the seventeenth-century variants Kearcher and Kirker.  Kirk was also noted as synonymous with Kirkpatrick around Coleraine and Limavady in Co. Derry at the start of the twentieth centry (see Kirkpatrick).

 

GLOSSARY

Clan From the Gaelic clann which means literally 'children'.
Mac- From the Gaelic mac, meaning 'son'
O' From the Gaelic , meaning 'grandson', 'grandchild' or 'descendant'; N is the femine form of , meaning 'daughter' or 'descendant'
Plantation (Ulster) The redistribution of escheated lands after the defeat of the Ulster Gaelic lords and the 'Flight of the Earls' in 1607.  Only counties Donegal, Derry, Tyrone, Armagh, Fermanagh and Cavan were actually 'planted', portions of land there being distributed to English and Scottish families on their lands and for the building of bawns.
Sept A family group of shared ancestry living in the same locality
Undertakers Powerful English or Scottish landowners who undertook the plantation of British settlers on the lands they were granted.
Gaelic This word in Ireland has no relation to Scotland.  As a noun it is used to denote the Irish language, as an adjective to denote native Irish as opposed to Norman or English origin.
Erenagh From the Irish Gaelic airchinneach, meaning 'hereditary steward of church lands'.  A family would hold the ecclesiastical office and the right to the church or monastery lands, the incumbent at any one time being the erenagh.