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Bessbrook
Bessbrook
is a village in County Armagh, Northern Ireland. It lies about three miles (5 km) northwest of Newry
Newry
and near the Newry bypass on the main A1 Belfast- Dublin
Dublin
road and Belfast- Dublin
Dublin
railway line. Today the village of Bessbrook
Bessbrook
straddles the three townlands of Maghernahely, Clogharevan and Maytown. Bessbrook
Bessbrook
is near Newry
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.

Contents

1 History 2 The Troubles 3 Places of interest 4 Education 5 References

History[edit] Bessbrook
Bessbrook
is named from Elizabeth or Bess Nicholson, wife of Joseph Nicholson whose family had carried on a linen business in the district from 1806 until 1845. The 'brook' is a stream which runs through the outskirts of the village. Bessbrook
Bessbrook
was founded by John Grubb Richardson
John Grubb Richardson
in 1845 as a 'model village', with spacious streets and squares surrounding a large linen mill owned by the Quaker
Quaker
Richardson family. As a social experiment it is similar to the model of the better-known Bournville
Bournville
company town founded by the Cadbury family near Birmingham, England, however it predates this development by more than 30 years. It is likely that the precedent on which it was based was the industrial village at Portlaw, County Waterford, Ireland, founded in 1825 by the Quaker
Quaker
Malcolmson family. Among the principles on which the village was based was a philosophy of "Three P's": there should be no public houses, no pawn shops, and consequently no need for police. It was John Grubb Richardson's belief that without a public house there would be no need for a pawn brokers or police station. To this day there are no public houses in the village. Nor are there any pawn shops, although nowadays there is a Police Service of Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
(PSNI) station. In 1885 the hydro-electrically powered Bessbrook
Bessbrook
and Newry
Newry
Tramway opened.

An old drawing of Richardson's Mill, Bessbrook

At one time, Bessbrook
Bessbrook
linen was among the finest in the world, and the linen mill provided most of the employment in the village. Tenement
Tenement
houses were constructed for the mill workers, many of which were of such good quality that they are still inhabited today. Each house also had an allotment garden for the growing of vegetables, and the area of the village where they were situated is still known as 'The Gardens', although the allotments themselves have been replaced by further housing. Most of the buildings in the village are constructed of granite, which is abundant locally. In the frequently segregated communities of Northern Ireland, Bessbrook
Bessbrook
is an unusually mixed village, with representation of Anglican, Methodist, Presbyterian
Presbyterian
and Roman Catholic
Roman Catholic
denominations. The village also has a Quaker
Quaker
meeting house. This is set in the demesne of The Woodhouse, which was inhabited by the Richardson family until the 1980s, and of Derrymore House
Derrymore House
– also a Richardson property until bequeathed to the National Trust, it was once the home of Isaac Corry MP. The area has been designated an historic park.[2] Football in Bessbrook
Bessbrook
has been steeped in history. Well known footballing families, like The Carroll's and Feehans have produced a long line of professional and semi professional footballers. The Troubles[edit] Main article: The Troubles
The Troubles
in Bessbrook Bessbrook
Bessbrook
saw much of the worst violence in the Troubles. The linen mill was converted by the British Army
British Army
into a major military base. A helicopter landing area was established to supply other military outposts in the area since road-borne movements of troops and supplies were vulnerable to landmine attack. At one stage the little village was reportedly the busiest helicopter airport in Europe. On 25 June 2007 the British Army
British Army
withdrew their military presence from Bessbrook
Bessbrook
and closed all of their facilities, marking an end to British military presence in the South Armagh
Armagh
region.[3] The end of the Troubles, following the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, has led to some recovery for the village. Traffic restrictions have been relaxed and the visible security presence has been reduced. It has been confirmed that the local police station will be disposed of within the current financial year, one of twenty-six stations that the Police Service of Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
has announced will be closing due to cost efficiency measures.[4] Places of interest[edit]

On the outskirts of the village is John Macneill's Craigmore Viaduct, known locally as the Eighteen Arches, built in 1851. The viaduct still carries the Dublin- Belfast
Belfast
railway line and with eighteen, (60 ft) twenty metre high arches, spanning about quarter of a mile (500 m), it was for a long time the longest bridge in Ireland. Constructed from local granite it makes for great distinction in the area. Derrymore House, a National Trust property open to the public, is nearby. It is an 18th-century thatched house set in over 100 acres (0.40 km2) of beautiful parkland and woodland. The Act of Union was drafted in the drawing room of the house in 1800.

Education[edit]

Bessbrook
Bessbrook
Primary School St. Joseph's Primary School St. Paul's High School St. Peter's Primary School, Cloughreagh

References[edit]

^ Bessbrook/An Sruthán, Placenames Database of Ireland ^ "Banbridge/ Newry
Newry
and Mourne Area Plan 2015 – Draft Plan August 2006 – Volume 3 Newry
Newry
and Mourne District Proposals" (PDF). The Planning Service. p. 147. Retrieved 8 August 2009.  ^ "Last troops pull out of Bessbrook". BBC News Online. 25 June 2007. Retrieved 8 August 2009.  ^ "Police stations which may close". BBC News Online. 3 August 2009. Retrieved 8 August 2009. 

NI Conflict Archive on the Internet Culture Northern Ireland

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Geography of County Armagh

List of places in County Armagh

Cities and towns

Armagh Craigavon Lurgan Newry
Newry
(part) Portadown

Villages and townlands

Acton Aghacommon Annaghmore Annahugh Ardress Aughanduff Ballydugan Ballymacnab Bannfoot Belleeks Bessbrook Blackwatertown Broomhill Camlough Carrickaness Charlemont Cladymore Clonmore Collegeland Corrinshego Creeveroe Creggan Crossmaglen Cullaville Cullyhanna Darkley Derryadd Derrycrew Derryhale Derrymacash Derrynoose Derrytrasna Dorsey Drumnacanvy Drumintee Edenaveys Forkill Granemore Hamiltonsbawn Jonesborough Keady Kernan Killeen Killylea Kilmore Lislea Lisnadill Loughgall Loughgilly Madden Maghery Markethill Meigh Middletown Millford Millvale Mountnorris Mullaghbawn Mullaghbrack Mullaghglass Mullavilly-Laurelvale Newtowncloghoge Newtownhamilton Poyntzpass Richhill Scotch Street Silverbridge Tandragee Tartaraghan The Birches Tullynawood Tynan Whitecross

Landforms

Coney Island Derrywarragh Island Eamhain Mhacha Lough Clea Slieve Gullion/Ring of Gullion

Baronies

Armagh Fews Lower Fews Upper Oneilland East Oneilland West Orior Lower Orior Upper Tiranny

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