Craigavon (/kreɪˈɡævən/ kray-GAV-ən; Irish: Creag Abhann) is a
planned settlement in northern County Armagh, Northern Ireland. Its
construction began in 1965 and it was named after Northern Ireland's
first Prime Minister: James Craig, 1st Viscount Craigavon. It was
intended to be the heart of a new linear city incorporating
Portadown, but this plan was abandoned and less than half of the
proposed work was done. 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 lakes, a wildlife haven, are surrounded by
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.
1.1 Original plans
1.3 The Troubles
6 Twin towns
7 See also
9 External links
Drumgor Heights, showing the Modernist housing design once common in
One of the many cycle paths in Craigavon
Craigavon was planned as a 'new city' for
Northern Ireland that would
mirror towns such as
Cumbernauld and, later,
Milton Keynes in Great
Britain. It was conceived as a linear city that would link the towns
Portadown to create a single urban area and identity.
The argument for a new town was based on projections indicating
population increases over the following decades that would require
large-scale house building. Similar projects successfully attracting
economic growth had been successfully completed in Great Britain, so
it was in some ways a symbol of
Northern Ireland as both modern and a
part of the British mainstream. The
Craigavon Development Commission
was appointed in October 1965 to develop the 'new city'. About 6,000
acres of land between
Portadown was vested from farmers at
£6 an acre. Several reasons have been suggested for the
suitability of the site including the existing population centres,
industrial base, nearness to
Belfast and the belief that Craigavon
would help spread development away from Belfast. It was hoped that
Belfast would be attracted by the suburban nature of
Craigavon's design and that business would see it as an interesting
alternative. Cash incentives were offered to some families moving to
Craigavon. The M1 motorway was built to link the new city with
Belfast and there were plans to replace the
Lurgan and Portadown
railway stations with a single high speed terminal in central
Craigavon Area Hospital
Craigavon Area Hospital was built to replace small
hospitals in the two towns.
The design of
Craigavon was based on Modernism and imbued with the
spirit of the age. The planners separated motor vehicles from
pedestrians and cyclists wherever possible, creating a network of
paths allowing residents to travel across
encountering traffic. The road network for motor vehicles used
roundabouts instead of traffic lights at junctions, giving the
planners the ability to easily increase the number of lanes if it
became necessary. Electricity and other cables were placed underground
and street lighting was standard throughout. The planners clustered
the housing developments around small 'village centres' with
associated retail space, leisure facilities, post offices, primary
schools, pharmacies, community centres and other civic amenities. All
estates were built with security in mind, with one vehicle entry/exit
Single-use zoning was part of the design; there was a total
separation of industrial land-use from all other uses.
Craigavon was designed to be a very child-friendly environment with
small playgrounds dotted throughout the residential areas. There was
an emphasis on providing green space in the housing estates and safe
paths to cycle on. The new town was also provided with many civic
amenities including a leisure centre, library, shopping centre, civic
centre, a large park with artificial lakes, playing fields, a petting
zoo, public gardens and an artificial ski slope.
Terence O'Neill, who was the Prime Minister of Northern Ireland
between 1963 and 1969 reportedly became infuriated with Minister of
Home Affairs William Craig after naming the new city
Craigavon as he
personally believed in solving the Catholic housing problems by the
creation of the new city along with trying to ease the population
pressures within Belfast. Much problems and difficulties came when the
city name was announced on both sides of
Northern Irish society.
Problems began to come to light when it emerged that some housing
estates had been built with materials and techniques that had not been
fully tested, with the result that insulation, sound-proofing and
durability were lacking. This was compounded by the outbreak of 'the
Troubles' in the late 1960s, which resulted in sectarian violence and
segregation. Investment into
Northern Ireland dried up and emigration
Craigavon Development Commission was wound up in 1973 and
Craigavon Borough Council
Craigavon Borough Council created. The area's main employer, Goodyear,
had a large fan-belt factory in the Silverwood industrial estate, and
at the time it was Europe's largest factory. However, the plant failed
to make money on a consistent basis, and had to shut in 1983. It
also emerged that the population projections for
Northern Ireland upon
which the project was based were wildly inaccurate, with the result
that the planned development was redundant.
Consequently about half of what was planned was never built, and of
what was built, some of that had to be demolished after becoming empty
and derelict. The area designated as
Craigavon 'city centre', for
much of this time contained only the municipal authority, the court
buildings and a shopping mall, surrounded by greenfield land. Dr
Stephen McKay, director of education at the School of Planning,
Architecture & Civil Engineering at Queen's University Belfast,
said that the plan to build
Craigavon was "flawed from the outset",
adding: "The cycle ways, mixed housing and recreational zones were
really never going to work in light of the circumstances. The
Craigavon to many was effectively a series of
roundabouts". Locally-born writer
Newton Emerson said: "As a child,
I didn't notice the failure of Craigavon. The new city was an enormous
playground of hidden cycle paths, roads that ended suddenly in the
middle of nowhere and futuristic buildings standing empty in an
The identity of a new city never really caught on. The name
'Craigavon' is today used by locals to refer to the area between
Lurgan and Portadown, but the names of the old towns stubbornly live
on and so do their identities. Many citizens of
Lurgan and Portadown
resent being identified with the 'new city' of Craigavon.
However, after many years of development, and rising house prices
closer to Belfast,
Craigavon is now taking off. Many of the older
housing estates have been demolished, improving the general tone of
the area. The building of new estates have brought many new people
into the area, and the growth of
Craigavon Shopping Centre (now
renamed Rushmere Shopping Centre) has made it a major shopping
For more information, see
The Troubles in Craigavon, which includes a
list of incidents in
Craigavon during the Troubles resulting in two or
more fatalities. On 10 March 2009 the CIRA claimed responsibility for
the fatal shooting of a PSNI officer in
Craigavon — the first police
Northern Ireland since 1998. 
The Belfast–Dublin railway line between
Craigavon lies on an area of flat land near the southeastern shore of
Lough Neagh. The surrounding settlements (listed clockwise) are
Lurgan (northeast), Corcreeny (east), Bleary
Portadown (southwest). It is separated from these
surrounding settlements mostly by fields. The narrow gap between
Portadown is marked by the fields/playing fields in
Lisnisky and Kernan. The gap between
Lurgan is narrower,
being marked by fields/playing fields in Ballynamony, Tullygally,
Taghnevan and Monbrief.
Aghacommon is the Portadown–
Craigavon Lakes. The railway line runs between the two lakes.
Further north is the M1 motorway, which runs parallel with the railway
Craigavon is within the civil parish of Seagoe. The following
is a list of townlands within Craigavon's urban area (excluding
Portadown and Bleary), along with their likely
Balteagh (from Irish Bailte Fhiach)
Clanrolla (from Cluain Rothla or Cluain Ralach)
Crossmacahilly (from Cros Mhic Cathghaile or Cros Mhic Eachmhilidh)
Drumgask (from Druim Gasach or Druim Gasga)
Drumgor (from Druim gCor)
Drumnagoon (from Druim na nGamhan or Druim Uí Dhubháin)
Knockmenagh (from Cnoc Meánach)
Legaghory or Legahory (from Log a' Choire)
Monbrief (from Móin Bríghe or Magh an Bhritheamh or Magh an
Moyraverty or Moyraferty (from Maigh Raifeartaigh)
Tamnafiglassan (from Tamhnach Feadha Glasáin or Tamhnach Fiodha
Tannaghmore West (from Tamhnach Mór)
Tullygally (from Tulaigh Galla)
For census purposes,
Craigavon is not treated as a separate entity by
the NI Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA). Instead, it is combined
Bleary to form the "
Craigavon Urban Area".
This makes it difficult to glean an accurate demographic picture of
the area that is generally regarded as
Craigavon – the mainly
residential area between
Portadown and Lurgan. This area roughly
corresponds with the Drumgask, Drumgor, Kernan and (part
of) Taghnevan electoral wards.
On the day of the last census (27 March 2011) the combined population
of these wards was about 16,000.
Craigavon has an 800-strong Chinese community and a high level of
racially motivated incidents.
Craigavon has been a historically Protestant town; however, in recent
times, the electorate has become gradually less so, with higher
numbers of Catholics and people of other religions or people of no
Craigavon was provided with a number of schools.
Brownlow Integrated College, one of the first integrated secondary
schools in Northern Ireland
Drumgor Primary School, controlled (i.e. state) primary school
Lismore Comprehensive School, the largest school in Northern Ireland,
run by the
Council for Catholic Maintained Schools (CCMS)
St Anthony's Primary School, CCMS
St Brendan's Primary School, CCMS
Tullygally Primary School, controlled, a mixed religion school. It has
about 100 pupils at any one time. It was built by the government with
the original founding of
Craigavon and was part of the library board.
The size of the primary school was reduced in recent years and half of
it now accommodates an adult learning centre. There are many more
primary and secondary schools in the wider
Craigavon areas of Lurgan,
There are also plans to build a
Southern Regional College
Southern Regional College campus
Craigavon Lake. The plans have met opposition from locals, as
it would involve the destruction of woodland which is home to
A.F.C. Craigavon play association football in the Mid-Ulster Football
Éire Óg Gaelic Football Club – competes in Division II of the
Armagh All County League. Have won both Junior and Intermediate
Craigavon United F.C. – football club – won the
Milk Cup in 1986.
Craigavon City F.C. – football club founded in 2007. In their first
season they finished 4th in the Mid Ulster fourth division and won the
John Magee Memorial Cup after a 2–1 victory over
Craigavon Cowboys American Football – the only American football
team in County Armagh. 2009 Winners of the IAFL DV8s league. Returned
to the IAFL proper in 2010.
Craigavon is twinned with:
LaGrange, Georgia, United States
Ballina, County Mayo, Ireland
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Craigavon.
List of towns in Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland Placenames Project, Queens University
^ Free Map Tools – "How Far Is It Between?"
^ a b c "Craigavon: 50 years of Modernity". British Council. 22
October 2014. Retrieved 12 December 2016.
^ a b c "The 'lost' city of
Craigavon to be unearthed in BBC
Portadown Times. 30 November 2007. Retrieved 3 May
^ a b "Craigavon: 'The changes are quite remarkable, it's not perfect
here, but then nowhere is'".
Belfast Telegraph. 28 March 2015.
Retrieved 12 December 2016.
^ a b c d "
Craigavon town planning: British Modernism 50 years on".
BBC News. 25 October 2014. Retrieved 12 December 2016.
^ "Continuity IRA shot dead officer". London: BBC News. 10 March 2009.
Retrieved 10 March 2009.
^ a b c "OSI Map Viewer". Ordnance Survey Ireland. Retrieved 25
February 2010. – Note: Select "historic" to view the townland
^ "Placenames Database of Ireland". Retrieved 25 February 2010.
Northern Ireland Placenames Project". Retrieved 25 May 2010.
Townland Maps". Sinton Family Trees. Retrieved 25 February
^ NISRA – Ward Information for Drumgask ward 95LL12
^ NISRA – Ward Information for Drumgor ward 95LL13
^ NISRA – Ward Information for Kernan ward 95LL16
^ NISRA – Ward Information for Taghnevan ward 95LL22
^ Irish Times 29 May 2008
Craigavon Borough Council". Ulster's Doomed!. Blogger. 25 November
^ "Campaigners set to oppose plan for new college at
Belfast Telegraph. 23 November 2016.
Culture Northern Ireland
Towns in Northern Ireland
List of towns by population
Italics denote settlements that are classed as towns but also have
Geography of County Armagh
List of places in County Armagh
Cities and towns
Slieve Gullion/Ring of Gullion
WikiProject Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland Portal
United Kingdom Portal