Banbridge

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Banbridge
Scots: Bannbrig[1]
Irish: Droichead na Banna
Banbridge.jpg
'The Cut' in Banbridge
Banbridge is located in Northern Ireland
Banbridge
Banbridge
 Banbridge shown within Northern Ireland
Population 14,744 (2001 Census)
District Banbridge
County County Down
Country Northern Ireland
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town BANBRIDGE
Postcode district BT32
Dialling code 028
Police Northern Ireland
Fire Northern Ireland
Ambulance Northern Ireland
EU Parliament Northern Ireland
UK Parliament Upper Bann
NI Assembly Upper Bann
List of places
UK
Northern Ireland
Down

Coordinates: 54°20′56″N 6°16′12″W / 54.348953°N 6.269975°W / 54.348953; -6.269975

Banbridge (/bænˈbrɪ/ ban-BRIJ)[2] is a town in County Down, Northern Ireland. It lies on the River Bann and the A1 roadand is named after a bridge built over the River Bann in 1712. The town began as a coaching stop on the road from Belfast to Dublin and thrived from Irish linen manufacturing. Its population was 14,744 people in the 2001 Census though is said to have raised in population by a fifth since then,[3] suggesting a population of around 18,000.[4] The town is the headquarters for Banbridge District Council.

The town's main street is very unusual, and rises to a steep hill before levelling out. In 1834 an underpass was built as horses with heavy loads would faint before reaching the top of the hill. It was built by William Dargan and is officially named 'Downshire Bridge', though it is often called "The Cut".

History[edit]

Banbridge, home to the "Star of the County Down", is a relatively young town, first entering recorded history around 1691 during the aftermath of the struggle between William III and James II. An Outlawry Court was set up in the town to deal with the followers of James.[5] The town grew up around the site where the main road from Belfast to Dublin crossed the River Bann over an Old Bridge which was situated where the present bridge now stands.

The town owes its success to flax and the linen industry, becoming the principal linen producing district in Ireland by 1772 with a total of 26 bleachgreens along the Bann. By 1820 the town was the centre of the 'Linen Homelands' and its prominence grew when it became a staging post on the mail coach route between Dublin and Belfast. A gift of £500 from the Marquis of Downshire around this time helped to alleviate some problems with the steepness of the road and paid for significant improvements.[6] This industry has now greatly diminished in prominence, but Banbridge still has three of the major producers in Ulster; Weavers, Thomas Ferguson & Co, and John England Irish Linen.

'The Cut' from above
Housing estates in western Banbridge
Housing estates in southern Banbridge
The monument to Francis Crozier

Banbridge has staged an annual busking competition and music festival called Buskfest since 2004. Performers often travel long distances to participate. The competition closes with an evening concert composed of performances by world-famous artists.[citation needed]

Recently, Banbridge has been twinned with Ruelle in France.

Townlands[edit]

Like the rest of Ireland, the Banbridge area has long been divided into townlands, whose names mostly come from the Irish language. Banbridge sprang up in a townland called Ballyvally. Over time, the surrounding townlands have been built upon and they have lent their names to many streets, roads and housing estates. The following is a list of townlands within Banbridge's urban area, alongside their likely etymologies:[7][8]

  • Ballydown (from Baile an Dúin meaning "townland of the stronghold")
  • Ballymoney (from Baile Muine meaning "townland of the thicket")
  • Ballyvally (from Baile an Bhealaigh meaning "townland of the routeway")
  • Drumnagally (from Dromainn Ó gCeallaigh meaning "O'Kelly's ridge")
  • Edenderry (from Éadan Doire meaning "hill-brow of the oak-wood")
  • Tullyear (from Tulaigh Eirre meaning "hillock of the boundary")

Demographics[edit]

Banbridge is classified as a "Medium Town" (i.e. a town with a population of 10,000-18,000 people)by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency. On Census day (29 April 2001), there were 14,744 people living in Banbridge. Of these:

  • 24.4% were aged under 16 years and 16.1% were aged 60 and over
  • 49.5% of the population were male and 50.5% were female
  • 33.7% were from a Catholic background and 63.7% were from a Protestant background
  • 3.3% of people aged 16–74 were unemployed.

Places of interest[edit]

Notable people[edit]

Transport[edit]

Banbridge is on the A1 main road between Belfast and Newry. The nearest railway station is Scarva on Northern Ireland Railways' Belfast–Newry railway line, about 4 miles (6.4 km) west of Banbridge.

Banbridge had its own railway station from 1859 until 1956. The Banbridge, Newry, Dublin and Belfast Junction Railway opened Banbridge (BJR) railway station on 23 March 1859.[10][11] In contrast with its very long name, this was a short branch line between Banbridge and Scarva.[10][11] This was followed by the opening of the Banbridge, Lisburn and Belfast Junction Railway between Knockmore Junction and Banbridge on 13 July 1863,[11] which gave Banbridge a more direct link via Lisburn with Belfast Great Victoria Street. Banbridge (BJR) railway station was closed in favour of the new Banbridge (BLBR) railway station.

The Great Northern Railway took over both companies in 1877[12] and opened a branch line from Banbridge to Ballyroney in 1880.[11] In 1906 the GNR opened an extension from Ballyroney to Castlewellan, where it connected with a new Belfast and County Down Railway branch line to Newcastle, County Down.[11]

In 1953 the governments of Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic jointly nationalised the GNR as the GNR Board.[13] On 1 May 1955 the GNRB closed Banbridge's lines to Scarva and Castlewellan.[14] Banbridge (BLBR) railway station closed on 29 April 1956, when the GNRB closed the line from Knockmore Junction.[14]

Education[edit]

Primary[edit]

Post-primary[edit]

Sport[edit]

Current sports clubs include:

Pop culture[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Daein Gairdens fur Wilelife Northern Ireland Department of the Environment.
  2. ^ G.M. Miller, BBC Pronouncing Dictionary of British Names (Oxford UP, 1971), p. 10.
  3. ^ http://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/Banbridge-is-just-booming.4533566.jp
  4. ^ 14,744 x 1.2 = 17692.
  5. ^ Young, Alex F. (2002). Old Banbridge. Catrine, Ayrshire: Stenlake Publishing. p. 3. ISBN 9781840332049. 
  6. ^ Young, Alex. Ibid. p. 3. 
  7. ^ "Placenames Database of Ireland". Retrieved 2010-02-30.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  8. ^ "Northern Ireland Placenames Project". Retrieved 2010-05-30. 
  9. ^ Belfast Telegraph, "White Widow Samantha Lewthwaite now world's most wanted woman"
  10. ^ a b Hajducki, 1974, map 8
  11. ^ a b c d e Hajducki, 1974, map 9
  12. ^ Hajducki 1974, p. xiii.
  13. ^ Baker 1972, pp. 146, 147.
  14. ^ a b Baker 1972, p. 207.
  15. ^ "Adream Schools Portal - *Abercorn Primary School (Banbridge) http://abercornprimaryschool.co.uk/". www.adream.tv. Retrieved 2010-03-22. 
  16. ^ "Schools Web Directory UK". www.schoolswebdirectory.co.uk. Retrieved 2010-03-22. 

Sources[edit]

External links[edit]