|Irish: Achadh Lí|
Holy Trinity Church of Ireland, Aghalee
Aghalee shown within Northern Ireland
|Population||774 (2001 Census)|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||Northern Ireland|
|UK Parliament||Lagan Valley|
|NI Assembly||Lagan Valley|
Aghalee (from Irish: Achadh Lí, meaning "field of calves") is a village, townland and civil parish in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. It is three miles from the southeast corner of Lough Neagh on the main road between Lurgan and Antrim and about 13 kilometres west of Lisburn. The village lies on the steep wooded slopes of Friary Glen and is beside the now disused Lagan Navigational Canal. In the 2001 Census, Aghalee had a population of 774.
Aghalee has several places of worship, a community hall, several shops and a post office. The village is home to a vocational training centre, a nursing home, telephone exchange, day nursery, doctor's surgery and chemist. Ulsterbus services link the village with Lisburn, Antrim, Lurgan and Belfast.
Much of the early development of Aghalee was due to its strategic location beside the Lagan Navigational Canal which opened at the end of the 18th century. The village became a distribution centre for the surrounding area and developed as an important lock station on the Lagan Navigation, as it was one of the last sizeable settlements before the canal entered Lough Neagh. While the canal operated, trade continued on a significant scale. When the canal finally ceased to operate in 1954, the area began to decline in commercial importance. The population of the settlement decreased considerably in the latter part of the 19th century and the first part of the 20th century.
The village retains many of the 18th century structures and buildings belonging to the canal. From the 1970s Aghalee developed as a commuter area for Belfast and Craigavon and this was accompanied by significant population growth. In recent times, development has occurred on the lands to the west of the village core.
Aghalee is celebrated in the Orange song, 'The Aghalee Heroes'. This is a ballad about an event in the Irish Rebellion of 1798. A garrison stationed in the village of Aghalee was ordered to march to Lurgan to engage with the rebels. They did so and won a decisive victory.
Aghalee is classified as a Small Village or Hamlet. On Census day (29 April 2001) there were 774 people living in Aghalee. Of these:
- 26.0% were aged under 16 years and 8.8% were aged 60 and over
- 51.2% of the population were male and 48.8% were female
- 10.6% were from a Catholic background and 85.0% were from a Protestant background
- 2.7% of people aged 16–74 were unemployed
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