Armagh (/ɑːrˈmɑː/ ar-MAH; from Irish Ard Mhacha
/ɑɾd̪ˠˈwaxə/, meaning '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
Catholic Church and the Church of Ireland. In ancient times,
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
fourth smallest in the United Kingdom.
1.2 Medieval era
1.3 Modern era
2.1 2011 Census
2.2 2001 Census
4 Notable buildings
5 City centre regeneration
11 Notable people
12 Companies and organisations
13 Annalistic references
14 See also
16 External links
St. Patrick's Cathedral,
Armagh (Church of Ireland), site of the
Scotch Street, c.1900
Open-air market on Market Street
Eamhain Mhacha (or Navan Fort), at the western edge of Armagh, is
believed to have been an ancient pagan ritual or ceremonial site.
Irish mythology it was one of the great royal sites of
Gaelic Ireland and the capital of Ulster. It appears to have been
largely abandoned after the 1st century. In the 3rd century, a ditch
and bank was dug around the top of Cathedral Hill, the heart of what
is now Armagh. Its circular shape matches the modern street layout.
Evidence suggests that it was a pagan sanctuary and the successor to
Navan. Like Navan, it too was named after the goddess
Macha – Ard Mhacha means "Macha's height". This name was later
anglicised as Ardmagh, which eventually became Armagh.
After Christianity spread to Ireland, the pagan sanctuary was
converted into a Christian one, and
Armagh became the site of an
important church and monastery. According to tradition, Saint Patrick
founded his main church there in the year 457, and it eventually
became the "ecclesiastical capital" of Ireland.
Saint Patrick was said
to have decreed that only those educated in
Armagh could spread the
gospel. According to the Annals of the Four Masters:
Ard Mhacha was founded by Saint Patrick, it having been granted to him
by Daire, son of Finnchadh, son of Eoghan, son of Niallan. Twelve men
were appointed by him for building the town. He ordered them, in the
first place, to erect an archbishop's city there, and a church for
monks, for nuns, and for the other orders in general, for he perceived
that it would be the head and chief of the churches of Ireland in
In 839 and 869, the monastery in
Armagh was raided by Vikings. As with
similar raids, their goal was to acquire valuables such as silver,
which could often be found in churches and monasteries.
Book of Armagh
Book of Armagh came from the monastery. It is a 9th-century Irish
manuscript now held by
Trinity College Library
Trinity College Library in
Dublin (ms 52). It
contains some of the oldest surviving specimens of Old Irish.
Brian Boru is believed to be buried in the graveyard of the St.
Church of Ireland
Church of Ireland cathedral. After having conquered the
island during the 990s, he became
High King of Ireland
High King of Ireland in 1002, until
his death in 1014.
In 1189, John de Courcy, a Norman knight who had invaded
1177, plundered Armagh.
Armagh has been an educational centre since the time of Saint Patrick,
and thus it has been referred to as "the city of saints and scholars".
The educational tradition continued with the foundation of the Royal
School in 1608, St Patrick's College in 1834 and the Armagh
Observatory in 1790. The Observatory was part of Archbishop Robinson's
plan to have a university in the city. This ambition was finally
fulfilled, albeit briefly, in the 1990s when Queen's University of
Belfast opened an outreach centre in the former hospital building.
Three brothers from
Armagh died at the
Battle of the Somme
Battle of the Somme during
World War I. None of the three has a known grave and all are
commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme. A
fourth brother was wounded in the same attack.
On 14 January 1921, during the Irish War of Independence, a Royal
Irish Constabulary (RIC) sergeant was assassinated by the Irish
Republican Army (IRA) in Armagh. He was attacked with a grenade as he
walked along Market Street and later died of his wounds. On 4
September 1921, republican leaders Michael Collins and Eoin O'Duffy
addressed a large meeting in Armagh, which was attended by up to
During the Troubles in Armagh, the violence was substantial enough for
the city to be referred to by some as "Murder Mile". Over the span
of 20 years, 24 individuals were killed in 13 different incidents.
In the 2011 Census
Armagh had a population of 14,749 people (5871
households). On Census day in 2011:
64.9% were from a
Catholic background and 27.0% were from a Protestant
Armagh had a population of 14,590 at the time of the 2001 Census, of
68.3% were from a
Catholic community background;
30.2% were from a
Protestant or other Christian community background;
11.6% were born outside Northern Ireland; and
1.0% were from an ethnic group other than white.
Armagh, like most of Ireland, has a temperate maritime climate (Cfb)
according to the
Köppen climate classification
Köppen climate classification system. The nearest
Met Office standard weather station, at
Armagh Observatory, provides
long term weather data back to 1844. During that time, the highest
temperature to be recorded was 30.3 °C (86.5 °F) on 10
July 1934. The lowest temperature was −15.1 °C
(4.8 °F) on 7 February 1895.
Typically, the warmest day of the year will reach 26.1 °C
(79.0 °F), and 3.7 days a year should attain a maximum
temperature of 25.1 °C (77.2 °F) or above.
Typically the coldest night of the year should fall to −6.8 °C
(19.8 °F) and 40.4 nights should register an air frost.
All averages refer to the 1981–2010 observation period.
Climate data for
Armagh Weather Observing Station 1981–2010,
Record high °C (°F)
Average high °C (°F)
Average low °C (°F)
Record low °C (°F)
Average rainfall mm (inches)
Mean monthly sunshine hours
St. Patrick's Cathedral,
Armagh (Roman Catholic)
Armagh is the site of two cathedrals, both on hills and both named
after Saint Patrick. The
Church of Ireland
Church of Ireland cathedral dates back to
around 445. The present-day, post-Reformation, Roman Catholic
cathedral was constructed during the latter half of the 19th century
and features twin 64m spires, making it the tallest such structure in
Armagh is one of the few cities in the world which is home
to two cathedrals of the same name.
Armagh has a Georgian area of heritage importance. Perhaps one of the
more well known of the buildings is the former women's prison. The
Armagh Gaol began in 1780 and was extended in the
1840s and 1850s. The front façade of the prison was built in the
Georgian style, while the later development, based on the design of
Pentonville (HM Prison), is Victorian. For most of its working
life it was a women's prison although not exclusively so.
was the primary women's prison in Northern Ireland. In 1986 the prison
closed and its prisoners were transferred to the new prison at
The city is home to the
Armagh Observatory, founded in 1790, and to
Armagh Planetarium, established in 1968 to complement the research
work of the Observatory. The palace of the Archbishop of
Armagh is now
the local council offices and, along with the archbishop's private
chapel, is open to the public. The Palace Stables heritage centre is a
reconstructed stable block dating from the 18th century, which was
once part of the Archbishop's estate.
Among the city's chief glories is
Armagh Public Library on Abbey
Street. It was founded in 1771 by Archbishop Richard Robinson (later
Lord Rokeby), using his own library as its nucleus. It is
especially rich in 17th- and 18th-century books in English, including
Dean Jonathan Swift's own copy of the first edition of his Gulliver's
Travels with his manuscript corrections.
Armagh Market House was built in 1815 as a two-storey five-bay
building, and is currently used as a library.
Armagh County Museum
Armagh County Museum is the oldest county museum in Ireland. The
building dates from 1833 and was originally a school house. It was
opened as the County Museum in 1937.
Armagh Public Library
Armagh County Museum
The Mall, looking toward the First Presbyterian Church and Gospel
City centre regeneration
The Marketplace Theatre and Arts Centre
To combat the problem of a diminishing city centre and to address the
concerns of local people,
Armagh City and District Council
Armagh City and District Council decided to
upgrade the surfaces and general appearance of the main shopping
The scheme aims to deal with the many issues raised by the public and
businesses over recent years. It will regenerate the centre of Armagh,
transforming it into a high-quality pedestrian-friendly environment.
The ineffective pedestrian area in Market Street will be opened
officially to vehicles. The scheme will provide wider footpaths,
pedestrian crossings and disabled parking throughout the city centre
to improve safety and accessibility.
As well as these new street layouts the appearance of the city centre
will be enhanced by new lighting, paving, seating, bins and greenery.
The use of quality stone materials, public art projects and feature
lighting will contribute to the overall effect and present the city's
famous architecture at its best. A shop frontage scheme will be
launched toward the end of the street development project.
The scheme includes eleven streets: Market Street, Thomas Street, Ogle
Street, Scotch Street, Dobbin Street, Dobbin Street Lane, Barrack
Street, McCrum's Court, Upper English Street, Russell Street, Ogle
Street and Linenhall Street.
Armagh City Centre Regeneration Scheme is funded by Armagh
City and District Council, the Department for Social Development,
Transport NI and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.
Former City Hospital, later Queen's University campus, Abbey Street
The city is run by
Armagh City and District Council, headquartered in
Armagh, which covers a larger area than just the city, but not the
entire county. Together with part of the district of
Newry and Mourne,
it forms the
Armagh constituency for elections to the
Westminster Parliament and
Northern Ireland Assembly. The Member of
Mickey Brady of Sinn Féin. He won the seat in the
United Kingdom general election, 2015. The five members of the
Northern Ireland Assembly are Megan Fearon, Cathal Boylan, Conor
Murphy (all members of Sinn Féin),
Justin McNulty of the
William Irwin of the DUP. The Lord Mayor of
Armagh is Gareth Wilson.
Southern Education and Library Board
Southern Education and Library Board and the Southern Health and
Social Services Board have their headquarters in the city, which has a
long reputation as an administrative centre.
The secretariat of the
North/South Ministerial Council
North/South Ministerial Council is based in
Armagh, and consists jointly of members of the civil services of both
Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
Armagh is the seat of both the
Church of Ireland
Church of Ireland Archbishop of Armagh
and the Roman
Catholic Archbishop of Armagh, both of whom hold the
Primate of All Ireland for their respective denominations.
Former houses on Charlemont Place, beside The Mall, now occupied by
the Southern Education & Library Board
Armstrong Primary School
Christian Brothers Primary School Armagh
The Drelincourt Primary School
Dromintee Primary School
Drumhillery Primary School
Mount St Catherine's Primary School
The Royal School Preparatory School
Saints and Scholars Integrated Primary School
St. Malachy's Primary School
St. Patrick's Primary School
Armagh High School
The Royal School, Armagh
St. Patrick's Grammar School, Armagh
St. Catherine's College, Armagh
Southern Regional College
Ulster Railway linked
Belfast in 1848 and
Newry and Armagh Railway
Newry and Armagh Railway (N&A) opened in 1864 and
Castleblayney, Keady and Armagh Railway
Castleblayney, Keady and Armagh Railway (CK&A) was completed
in 1910. In 1876 the
Ulster Railway became part of the new Great
Northern Railway (GNR), which took over the N&A in 1879 and the
CK&A in 1911.
Armagh rail disaster, which killed 80 people, occurred on 12 June
1889 on the N&A line near Armagh.
The partition of Ireland in 1922 hastened the railways' decline, and
the GNR closed the Keady – Castleblayney section of the CKA in
1923. The GNR withdrew passenger trains from the Armagh –
Keady section of the CKA in 1922 and closed the Armagh –
Markethill section of the N&A in 1933. The Government of
Northern Ireland forced the GNR Board to close all remaining lines
Armagh railway station
Armagh railway station on 1 October 1957: the goods branch
Keady and the main line through
Armagh from Portadown
as far as the border at
Glaslough on the way to Monaghan.
Northern Ireland Railways train services run from
Portadown to Belfast
Great Victoria Street and the cross-border Enterprise service runs via
Poyntzpass also has a limited service.
Government Minister for the Department for Regional Development, Danny
Kennedy MLA has indicated plans to restore the railway from Armagh
station to Portadown.
Armagh's Mall is home to the
Cricket Club, and has also staged
Armagh City Football Club, which plays in the
NIFL Championship is the
main association football club, and the City of
Armagh Rugby Club is
the local rugby club.
Lisanally Rangers F.C. is another football team,
playing in the Mid-
Ulster Football League.
Gaelic football is
Armagh Harps and Pearse Ógs. The local GAA handball
club is Eugene Quinn's, named after a player from the
Armagh area who
died on an attempted swim from
Tory Island to the coast of Donegal.
The local hurling club is
In 2004 the Royal School,
Armagh became only the second team in
history to win both the schools' rugby and hockey cups in the same
The Mall in
Armagh has a long association with cricket, and is the
location of the
Armagh Cricket Club clubhouse.
Armagh Athletics Club was founded in 1969. The club organises the
Armagh International 5k Road Race annually. The race was first
organised in 1980 and takes place every February with athletes coming
from England, Scotland, Wales, continental Europe and the United
Armagh is within the civil parish of Armagh. Like the rest of Ireland,
this parish has long been divided into townlands, whose names mostly
come from the Irish language. Over time, more townlands have been
built upon and they have lent their names to many streets, roads and
In 1830, most of Armagh's urban townlands were amalgamated (for
administration) and became known as Corporation Lands or simply
Corporation. However, the surrounding townlands remained as
separate units and they were eventually built upon too. They are
listed below alongside their likely etymologies.
Aghamoat (from Irish Achadh Mochta, meaning 'Mochta's field')
Ballynahone Beg (from Baile [Beag] na hAbhann meaning "[small]
townland of the river") – part of
Ballynahone More (from Baile [Mór] na hAbhann meaning "[large]
townland of the river")
Cargagh (from Cairgeach meaning "rocky land")
Cavanacaw (from Cabhán na Cáithe meaning "hollow of the chaff")
Drumadd (from Druim-fhad meaning "long ridge")
Drumarg (from Druim Arg meaning "ridge of the chests" or Druim Fhairig
meaning "ridge of the feasting/hospitality")
Drumman More (from an Drumainn meaning "the ridge")
Killuney (from Cill Lughna meaning "Lughna's church")
Legarhill or Mullaghcreevie (from Mullach Craoibhe meaning "hilltop of
Lurgyvallen (from Lorg Uí Mhealláin meaning "Ó Mhealláin's track")
Mullynure (from Mullach an Iubhair meaning "hilltop of the
yew") – part of Grange parish
Parkmore (from Páirc Mhór meaning "great field")
Tullyelmer (from Tulaigh Giolla Mura meaning "Giolla Mura's mound")
Umgola (origin uncertain but probably includes the element -gabhla
Only people who are sufficiently notable to have individual entries on
have been included in the list and, in each instance, their
birth or residence has been verified by citations.
Robert Alexander Anderson (mayor) (1858–1916) – mayor of
Tom Boyd, Irish professional golfer, was born in
Armagh in 1888
Daragh Carville, playwright and screenwriter, whose works include
Cherrybomb, was born in
Armagh in 1969
Moses Harvey, clergyman and naturalist, famous for studies of the
Giant Squid, was born in
Armagh in 1820
Patrick Magee, actor and director known for his collaborations with
Samuel Beckett and Harold Pinter, was born in
Armagh in 1922
Saint Malachy of
Armagh was born there in 1094
Academy Award nominated cinematographer (Atonement,
Anna Karenina), was born in
Armagh in 1967
Colin Morgan, actor, known for playing the lead role in Merlin,
was born in
Armagh in 1986
Ian Paisley, politician, founder of the
Democratic Unionist Party
Democratic Unionist Party and
First Minister of Northern Ireland, was born in
Armagh in 1926
Thomas Romney Robinson
Thomas Romney Robinson (1792–1882) – astronomer
Christopher Vokes, Major General, was born in
Armagh in 1904
Charles Wood, composer, was born in
Armagh in 1866
Companies and organisations
In April 2013, the
Belfast Telegraph released a list of top 100
companies in Northern Ireland. Armagh-based Moy Park topped the list
which was generated based on total employment numbers and annual
revenues. Other companies in the list include Tesco, J. Sainsbury, HCL
Armagh, Marks and Spencer, and Bank of Ireland.
The remains of Armagh's Franciscan friary
Annals of Inisfallen
Annals of Inisfallen (AI)
AI715.2 Flann.Febla, abbot of Ard Macha, rested.
AI729.1 Kl. Repose of Suibne, abbot of Ard Macha.
AI750.1 Kl. Repose of Congus, abbot of Ard Macha.
AI768.3 Repose of Feradach son of Suibne, abbot of Ard Macha.
AI772.2 Suibne, abbot of Ard Macha, [rested].
AI791.1 Kl. Cú Dínisc son of Cú Ásaig, abbot of Ard Macha, rested.
AI793.1 Dub dá Leithe, abbot of Ard Macha, rested.
AI794.1 Kl. Airechtach, abbot of Ard Macha, [rested].
AI795.3 Repose of Faendledach Bec, abbot of Ard Macha.
AI807.1 Kl. Connmach son of Dub dá Leithe, abbot of Ard Macha,
AI808.1 Kl. Taicthech grandson of Tigernán, lector of Ard Macha,
AI834.1 Kl. Eógan, bishop of Ard Macha, rested.
AI845.2 Forannán, abbot of Ard Macha, was carried off by the heathens
from Cluain Comarda, and the shrine of Pátraic was broken and carried
off by them.
AI846.1 Kl. Niall son of Aed, king of Temuir, was drowned in the
Calann, i.e. a river beside Ard Macha.
AI852.2 Forannan and Diarmait, abbots of Ard Macha, fell asleep.
AI852.2 Repose of Cathasach, abbot of Ard Macha.
AI874.1 Kl. The third feria [Tuesday], ninth of the moon. Féthgna,
abbot of Ard Macha, rested in Christ.
AI883.2 Repose of Cathasach, abbot of Ard Macha.
AI888.3 Repose of Mael Coba son of Crunnmael, abbot of Ard Macha.
AI893.1 First after Bissextile. Kl. Repose of Mochta, bishop of Ard
AI924.2 Muiredach son of Domnall, abbot of Mainister Búiti and
tanist-abbot of Ard Macha, rested.
AI927.1 Kl. Repose of Mael Brigte son of Tornán, abbot of Ard Macha
and abbot of Í Coluim Chille.
AI936.1 Kl. Repose of Ioseph, abbot of Ard Macha; and Mael Pátraic
succeeded him in the abbacy.
AI966.2 Repose of Muiredach son of Fergus, abbot of Ard Macha.
AI973.3 Dub dá Leithe, coarb of Patrick, came to Mumu and made his
visitation; and he and the coarb of
Ailbe quarrelled regarding the
levy, and Mathgamain, king of Mumu, made peace between them, and they
agreed upon the perpetual right of [the coarb of] Patrick.
Macha was set on fire by lightning, which did not leave
unburnt a steeple therein, nor a house, nor the house of an elder
inside the fort.
AI996.5 Dub dá Leithe, coarb of Ard
Macha (or, of Patrick) and coarb
of Colum Cille, rested in Christ.
AI1001.2 Muirecán, abbot of Ard Macha, was expelled from his abbot's
seat, and Mael Maire took the abbacy instead.
AI1005.5 Repose of Eochaid ua Flannacáin, historian of Ard Macha.
AI1020.3 Mael Muire son of Eochaid, coarb of Patrick, rested in
Macha was burned, both stone-church and bellhouse, and
all the buildings.
AI1026.3 The coarb of Patrick, accompanied by his venerable clerics,
and Donnchadh son of Gilla Pátraic, king of Osraige, [were] in the
house of Donnchad, son of Brian, at Cenn Corad at Eastertide.
AI1029.8 Flaithbertach Ua Néill, on his pilgrimage to Ard Macha.
Book of Armagh
List of towns in Northern Ireland
List of villages in Northern Ireland
Market houses in Northern Ireland
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