County Armagh (named after its county town, Armagh) is one of the traditional counties of Ireland and one of six counties that form Northern Ireland. Adjoined to the southern shore of Lough Neagh, the county covers an area of 1,326 km² and has a population of about 174,792. County Armagh is known as the "Orchard County" because of its many apple orchards. The county is part of the historic province of Ulster.
|• Total||512 sq mi (1,326 km2)|
|Highest elevation||1,880 ft (573 m)|
|Time zone||UTC±0 (GMT)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+1 (BST)|
|Contae Ard Mhacha is the Irish name; Coontie Armagh and Coontie Airmagh are Ulster Scots spellings.|
The name "Armagh" derives from the Irish word Ard meaning "height" (or high place) and Macha. Macha is mentioned in The Book of the Taking of Ireland, and is also said to have been responsible for the construction of the hill site of Emain Macha (now Navan Fort near Armagh City) to serve as the capital of the Ulaid kings (who give their name to Ulster), also thought to be Macha's height.
From its highest point at Slieve Gullion, in the south of the County, Armagh's land falls away from its rugged south with Carrigatuke, Lislea and Camlough mountains, to rolling drumlin country in the middle and west of the county and finally flatlands in the north where rolling flats and small hills reach sea level at Lough Neagh.
County Armagh's boundary with Louth is marked by the rugged Ring of Gullion rising in the south of the county whilst much of its boundary with Monaghan and Down goes unnoticed with seamless continuance of drumlins and small lakes. The River Blackwater marks the border with County Tyrone and Lough Neagh otherwise marks out the County's northern boundary.
There are also a number of uninhabited islands in the county's section of Lough Neagh: Coney Island Flat, Croaghan Flat, Padian, Phil Roe's Flat and the Shallow Flat.
Despite lying in the east of Ireland, Armagh enjoys an oceanic climate strongly influenced by the Gulf Stream with damp mild winters, and temperate, wet summers. Overall temperatures rarely drop below freezing during daylight hours, though frost is not infrequent in the months November to February. Snow rarely lies for longer than a few hours even in the elevated south-east of the County. Summers are mild and wet and although with sunshine often interspersed with showers, daylight lasts for almost 18 hours during high-summer.
|Climate data for County Armagh|
|Average high °F||45||45.7||49.5||54.0||59.4||63.9||67.3||66.6||61.9||55||49.1||45.7||55.2|
|Average low °F||35.1||35.1||37.2||39||43.3||48.4||52.5||52||48||44.1||38.3||36.3||42.4|
|Average precipitation inches||3.14||2.26||2.56||2.18||2.14||2.19||2.06||2.83||2.64||3.19||2.84||3.28||29.90|
|Average high °C||7||7.6||9.7||12.2||15.2||17.7||19.6||19.2||16.6||13||9.5||7.6||12.9|
|Average low °C||1.7||1.7||2.9||4||6.3||9.1||11.4||11||9||6.7||3.5||2.4||5.8|
|Average precipitation mm||79.8||57.5||64.9||55.4||54.4||55.7||52.3||71.9||67.1||81.1||72.1||83.4||759.4|
Ancient Armagh was the territory of the Ulaid (also known as Voluntii, Ultonians, Ulidians, Ulstermen) before the fourth century AD. It was ruled by the Red Branch, whose capital was Emain Macha (or Navan Fort) near Armagh. The site, and subsequently the city, were named after the goddess Macha. The Red Branch play an important role in the Ulster Cycle, as well as the Cattle Raid of Cooley. However, they were eventually driven out of the area by the Three Collas, who invaded in the 4th century and held power until the 12th. The Clan Colla ruled the area known as Airghialla or Oriel for these 800 years.
The chief Irish septs of the county were descendants of the Collas, the O'Hanlons and MacCanns, and the Uí Néill, the O'Neills of Fews. Armagh was divided into several baronies: Armagh was held by the O'Rogans, Lower Fews was held by O'Neill of the Fews, and Upper Fews were under governance of the O'Larkins, who were later displaced by the MacCanns. Oneilland East was the territory of the O'Garveys, who were also displaced by the MacCanns. Oneilland West, like Oneilland East, was once O'Neill territory, until it was then held by the MacCanns, who were Lords of Clanbrassil. Upper and Lower Orior were O'Hanlon territory. Tiranny was ruled by Ronaghan. Miscellaneous tracts of land were ruled by O'Kelaghan. The area around the base of Slieve Guillion near Newry also became home to a large number of the McGuinness clan as they were dispossessed of hereditary lands held in the County Down.
Armagh was the seat of St. Patrick, and the Catholic Church continues to be his see. County Armagh is presently one of four counties of Northern Ireland to have a majority of the population from a Catholic background, according to the 2011 census.
The southern part of the County has been a stronghold of support for the IRA, earning it the nickname "Bandit Country" though this is widely regarded as an untrue media label that has resulted in the vilification and demonisation of the local community. South Armagh is predominantly nationalist, with most of the population being opposed to any form of British presence, especially that of a military nature. The most prominent opposition to British rule was the Provisional IRA South Armagh Brigade.
On 10 March 2009, the CIRA claimed responsibility for the fatal shooting of a PSNI officer in Craigavon, County Armagh—the first police fatality in Northern Ireland since 1998. The officer was fatally shot by a sniper as he and a colleague investigated "suspicious activity" at a house nearby when a window was smashed by youths causing the occupant to phone the police. The PSNI officers responded to the emergency call, giving a CIRA sniper the chance to shoot and kill officer Stephen Carroll.
County Armagh is no longer used as an administrative district for local Government purposes; however, it remains officially used for purposes such as a Lieutenancy area – the county retains a lord lieutenant who acts as representative of the British Monarch in the County.
County Armagh ceased to serve as a local government unit in 1973. Currently the county is covered for local government purposes by four district councils, namely Armagh City and District Council, most of Craigavon Borough Council, approximately the western third of Newry and Mourne District Council and a part of Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough Council, centred around Peatlands Park.
With the proposed reform of local government in Northern Ireland in 2011, County Armagh would have comprised part of two new council areas, Armagh City and Bann District, and Newry City and Down; however, that reform has not proceeded to date.
Armagh ceased to serve as an electoral constituency in 1983, but remains the core of the Newry and Armagh constituency represented at Westminster and the Newry and Armagh constituency represented in the Northern Ireland Assembly. County Armagh also remains as a district for legal and property purposes; however, its baronies no longer have any administrative use.
The -XZ suffix is currently used on vehicle registration plates for vehicles registered in County Armagh.
(population of 18,000 or more and under 75,000 at 2001 Census)
(population of 10,000 or more and under 18,000 at 2001 Census)
(population of 4,500 or more and under 10,000 at 2001 Census)
(population of 2,250 or more and under 4,500 at 2001 Census)
(population of 1,000 or more and under 2,250 at 2001 Census)
Small villages or hamlets
(population of fewer than 1,000 at 2001 Census)
County Armagh is traversed by two major highways – the M1 linking Belfast to Dungannon crosses the north of the county whilst the A1/N1 from Belfast to Dublin runs in the far south east. Armagh has numerous local roads connecting settlements in the county.
Armagh once had a well-developed railway network with connections to, among others, Armagh City, Culloville, Goraghwood, Markethill, Vernersbridge, Tynan (see History of rail transport in Ireland ) but today only Newry (Bessbrook), Portadown, Poyntzpass, Scarva, and Lurgan are served by rail.
There is a possible railway re-opening from Portadown railway station to Armagh railway station in the future. Government Minister for the Department for Regional Development, Danny Kennedy MLA indicates railway restoration plans of the line from Portadown to Armagh.
Ulsterbus provides the most extensive public transport system within the county, including frequent bus transfers daily from most towns to Belfast. Northern Ireland Railways / Iarnród Éireann's Enterprise service provides connections to Dublin in little over an hour and Belfast in little over forty minutes, several times daily.
In association football, the NIFL Premiership, which operates as the top division, has one team in the county: Glenavon, with Portadown, Annagh United, Armagh City, Dollingstown, Loughgall and Lurgan Celtic competing in the NIFL Championship, which operates as levels two and three.
On 20 March 1994, a British Army Lynx helicopter was shot down by the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) in Northern Ireland. A unit of the IRA's South Armagh Brigade fired an improvised mortar at the British Army base in Crossmaglen, County Armagh. The mortar round hit and shot down the helicopter, serial number ZD275, while it was hovering over the helipad. Three British soldiers and a Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) member were wounded.Annaghmore, County Armagh
Annaghmore ( ann-ə-MOR; from Irish: Eanach Mór, meaning "great marsh") is a small village and townland (of 786 acres) near Loughgall in County Armagh, Northern Ireland. It is situated in the civil parish of Loughgall and the historic barony of Oneilland West. It is within the Armagh City and District Council area. It had a population of 265 people (93 households) in the 2011 Census. (2001 Census: 255 people)Armagh
Armagh ( ar-MAH; Irish: Ard Mhacha, IPA: [ˌaɾd̪ˠ ˈwaxə], "Macha's height") is the county town of County Armagh and a city in Northern Ireland, as well as a civil parish. It is the ecclesiastical capital of Ireland – the seat of the Archbishops of Armagh, the Primates of All Ireland for both the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of Ireland. In ancient times, nearby Navan Fort (Eamhain Mhacha) was a pagan ceremonial site and one of the great royal capitals of Gaelic Ireland. Today, Armagh is home to two cathedrals (both named after Saint Patrick) and the Armagh Observatory, and is known for its Georgian architecture.
Although classed as a medium-sized town, Armagh was given city status in 1994 and Lord Mayoralty status in 2012, both by Queen Elizabeth II. It had a population of 14,749 people in the 2011 Census, making it the least-populated city in Ireland and the fifth smallest in the United Kingdom.Bessbrook
Bessbrook is a village in County Armagh, Northern Ireland. It lies about three miles (5 km) northwest of Newry and near the Newry bypass on the main A1 Belfast-Dublin road and Belfast-Dublin railway line. Today the village of Bessbrook straddles the three townlands of Maghernahely, Clogharevan and Maytown. Bessbrook is near Newry railway station.
During the late 20th century some of the worst violence of "the Troubles" took place near the village and it became a military zone with a large garrison. The small village became the busiest (military) heliport in Europe.Blackwatertown
Blackwatertown, sometimes referred to as Blackwaterstown, is a small village in the townland of Lisbofin, County Armagh, Northern Ireland. It sits on the River Blackwater, close to the border with County Tyrone. It is within the Armagh City and District Council area. It had a population of 376 people and Big Tam (150 households) in the 2011 Census.Blackwatertown was one of the first places in Northern Ireland to erect street signs in the Irish language in 1980. The village recently had signs erected at the entrances indicating its name; previously signs were erected by local individuals indicating its name in the Irish language.
The River Blackwater enters Lough Neagh west of Derrywarragh Island and is navigable from Maghery to Blackwatertown.Charlemont, County Armagh
Charlemont is a small village in County Armagh, Northern Ireland. It is situated within the Armagh City and District Council area. Charlemont Bridge joins the villages of Charlemont on the east bank of the River Blackwater and Moy on the west. It had a population of 109 people (52 households) in the 2011 Census.Clonmore, County Armagh
Clonmore (from Irish Cluain Mór, meaning 'large meadow') is a hamlet and townland in County Armagh, Northern Ireland. It is close to the banks of the River Blackwater.Craigavon
Craigavon ( kray-GAV-ən) is a planned settlement in northern County Armagh, Northern Ireland. Its construction began in 1965 and it was named after The 1st Viscount Craigavon, the first Prime Minister of Northern Ireland. It was intended to be the heart of a new linear city incorporating Lurgan and Portadown, but this plan was mostly abandoned and later described as having been flawed. Among locals today, "Craigavon" refers to the area between the two towns. It is built beside two artificial lakes and is made up of a large residential area (Brownlow), a second smaller one (Mandeville), plus a central area (Highfield) that includes a substantial shopping centre, a courthouse and the district council headquarters. The area around the lakes is a public park and wildlife haven made up of woodland with walking trails. There is also a watersports centre, petting zoo, golf course and ski slope in the area. In most of Craigavon, motor vehicles are completely separated from pedestrians, and roundabouts are used extensively.
Craigavon sometimes refers to the much larger Craigavon Urban Area, which includes Craigavon, Lurgan, Portadown, Waringstown and Bleary.Derrymore, County Antrim
Derrymore (from Irish Doire Mór, meaning 'great oak-grove') is a small village and townland in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. In the 2001 Census it had a population of 243 people. It lies on the shores of Lough Neagh, within the Craigavon Borough Council area.
The village is a linear settlement comprising residential development and a primary school, but no other community facilities.Dorsey, County Armagh
Dorsey or Dorsy (from Irish: Na Doirse, meaning "the gateways") is a small village and townland between Belleeks and Cullyhanna in County Armagh, Northern Ireland. It has an estimated population of 130-160 people and includes about 30-35 houses.Drummuckavall Ambush
The Drummuckavall Ambush was an attack by the South Armagh Brigade of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) on a British Army observation post in Drummuckavall, southeast of Crossmaglen, County Armagh, on 22 November 1975. The attack, which occurred along the border with the Republic of Ireland, resulted in the deaths of three British soldiers and triggered the official deployment of the Special Air Service (SAS) in Northern Ireland.Glenanne barracks bombing
The Glenanne barracks bombing was a large truck bomb attack carried out by the Provisional IRA against a British Army (Ulster Defence Regiment) base at Glenanne, near Mountnorris, County Armagh. The driverless lorry was rolled down a hill at the rear of the barracks and crashed through the perimeter fence. The bombing took place on 31 May 1991 and left three soldiers killed and 14 people wounded, four of them civilians.Killean, County Armagh
Killeen or Killean (from Irish: Cillín) is a small village and townland in the civil parish of Killevy, County Armagh, Northern Ireland. It lies about four miles (6.5 km) south of Newry, near the border with County Louth in the Republic of Ireland.
In the 2001 Census, it had a population of 75 people. It lies within the Newry and Mourne District Council area.Kilmore, County Armagh
Kilmore or Killmore (from the Irish: Cill Mhór) is a small village, townland and civil parish in County Armagh, Northern Ireland. It lies 2.5 miles north of Richhill and within the Armagh City and District Council area. It had a population of 190 people (74 households) in the 2011 Census. (2001 Census: 111 people)
The site where Kilmore Parish Church now stands arguably predates the much venerated Early Christian cathedral sites of both Armagh and Derry, as the earliest mention of Christian worship here comes from 422 AD. The Square Tower, built in 1613, has walls of great thickness, and are said to enclose the well-preserved round tower of the Monastery of Cill Mhór. Little is known of the monastery, but it is reported to have been founded by Saint Mochta in the 5th century. The monastic site is also associated with the order of Culdees and in history had strong links with the Cathedral of Armagh.
Finds from the area include a 12th-century silver finger ring, a bone comb, fragments of a lignite bracelet, skeletal remains from fields surrounding the church and an early 10th-century copper alloy and crutch-headed pin now in the British Museum.Lord Lieutenant of Armagh
This is a list of people who have served as Lord-Lieutenant of Armagh.
There were lieutenants of counties in Ireland until the reign of James II, when they were renamed governors. The office of Lord Lieutenant was recreated on 23 August 1831.Loughgall
Loughgall ( lokh-GAWL; from Irish: Loch gCál, meaning "cabbage lake") is a small village, townland (of 131 acres) and civil parish in County Armagh, Northern Ireland. It is in the historic baronies of Armagh and Oneilland West. It had a population of 282 people (116 households) in the 2011 Census. (2001 Census: 285 people)
Loughgall was named after a small nearby loch. The village is at the heart of the apple-growing industry and is surrounded by orchards. Along the village's main street is a large set of gates leading to Loughgall Manor. An imposing building, the Manor was once the home of the Cope family who arrived as part of the Plantation of Ulster in the 17th century.Max Clendinning
Max Clendinning (born 1924 in County Armagh, Northern Ireland) is an architect and interior designer.Clendinning is best known for his 1965 design of the "slot-together but sturdy looking" Maxima chair, inspired in part by computer lettering. This design was featured in an exhibit at the Victoria and Albert Museum in 2012. He also created designs for Christian Dior and Liberty and Co and, for London Midland Region of British Railways, the laminated wooden roofs at Manchester Oxford Road railway station (1960).He has lived in Islington with partner Ralph Adron for forty years.Richhill, County Armagh
Richhill is a large village and townland in County Armagh, Northern Ireland, situated between Armagh and Portadown. It had a population of 2,821 people in the 2011 Census.Originally named Legacorry (from Irish: Log a' Choire), it takes its name from Edward Richardson, who built the manor house that the village grew up around.Silverbridge, County Armagh
Silverbridge is a small village in the townland of Legmoylin in County Armagh, Northern Ireland. It is within the Newry and Mourne District Council area. In the 2011 Census it had a recorded population of 112. The local GAA club is Silverbridge Harps GFC, which plays football at Intermediate level in county competitions.