|Irish: Droichead na Banna|
'The Cut' in Banbridge
Banbridge shown within Northern Ireland
|Population||14,744 (2001 Census)|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||Northern Ireland|
|UK Parliament||Upper Bann|
|NI Assembly||Upper Bann|
Banbridge (// ban-BRIJ) is a town in County Down, Northern Ireland. It lies on the River Bann and the A1 road. It was named after a bridge built over the Bann in 1712. The town grew 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, suggesting a population of around 18,000. 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 made, apparently because 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'.
|This section requires expansion. (March 2010)|
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. 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 by 1772 the principal linen producing district in Ireland 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. 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.
Since 2004, Banbridge has staged an annual busking competition and music festival called Buskfest. Performers have travelled from as far as Australia to participate in the competition and the evening concert has included a number of world-famous artists.
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:
- 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")
Banbridge is classified as a Medium Town by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (i.e. with population between 10,000 and 18,000 people). 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
- Near the town lie the ancient Lisnagade Fort, Legannany Dolmen, and the Loughbrickland Crannóg, constructed around the year 500 AD
- Thomas Ferguson & Co Ltd factory tours.
- Professor Ernest Walton, winner of the 1951 Nobel Prize for Physics (along with Sir John Douglas Cockcroft) attended school in Banbridge.
- Captain Francis Crozier, British naval officer and Arctic explorer, was born in Banbridge in 1796. A monument to him stands in the town square; four polar bears are carved on the base.
- F. E. McWilliam, surrealist sculptor.
- John Mitchel, Irish nationalist activist and political journalist.
- John Butler Yeats, artist and father of four artistic children. Among them were William Butler Yeats and Jack Butler Yeats.
- Robbie Dennison, former Wolverhampton Wanderers FC winger and Northern Ireland football international.
- Samuel Fryar, politician from the 1930s.
- Dermott Lennon world show jumping champion hails from Ballinaskeagh just outside Banbridge.
- Jonathan Tuffey, Northern Ireland No 2 goalkeeper, currently playing for Linfield FC in the Irish League.
- Peter Alcorn, drummer for the pirate metal band Alestorm.
- Anna Hassan, educator and Dame of the British Empire.
- Joseph M. Scriven, writer of the poem which became the hymn "What a Friend We Have in Jesus".
- Samantha Lewthwaite, terrorism suspect.
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. In contrast with its very long name, this was a short branch line between Banbridge and Scarva. This was followed by the opening of the Banbridge, Lisburn and Belfast Junction Railway between Knockmore Junction and Banbridge on 13 July 1863, 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 and opened a branch line from Banbridge to Ballyroney in 1880. 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.
In 1953 the governments of Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic jointly nationalised the GNR as the GNR Board. On 1 May 1955 the GNRB closed Banbridge's lines to Scarva and Castlewellan. Banbridge (BLBR) railway station closed on 29 April 1956, when the GNRB closed the line from Knockmore Junction.
- Abercorn Primary School : Opened 1932, about 400 pupils 
- Ballydown Primary School : Opened 2004 
- Bridge Primary School
- Bronte Primary School
- Edenderry Primary School
- Milltown Primary School
- St. Mary's Primary School
- Banbridge Academy (mixed grammar)
- Banbridge High School
- St Patrick's College
- New-Bridge Integrated College
- One of the Banbridge sporting highlights probably was the 1920 - Ireland v. Scotland International Hockey Match played at Banbridge.
- The Banbridge Hockey Club wins in 1985 as the second team from Ireland, after Cookstown HC in 1981, the EuroHockey Club Champions Trophy.
Current sports clubs include:
- Banbridge Town F.C.
- Banbridge Hockey Club
- Banbridge Rugby Club
- Banbridge Rangers F.C.
- Banbridge A.F.C.
- Moneyslane F.C.
- Banbridge Ladies Hockey Club
- Banbridge Athletics Club
- Banbridge Cycling Club
- Banbridge Golf Club
- Clann na Banna G.A.A Club
- Banbridge Rangers Football Club
- Banbridge Weight Training Club
- Banbridge AFC
- Banbridge Amateur Swimming Club
- "The Star of the County Down" is a well known song associated with Banbridge.
- In the film The Day After Tomorrow (2004), a fictitious Sky News broadcast shows a depiction of Banbridge in the midst of an apocalyptic blizzard.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Banbridge.|
|Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Banbridge.|
- List of towns in Northern Ireland
- List of villages in Northern Ireland
- Market Houses in Northern Ireland
- Daein Gairdens fur Wilelife Northern Ireland Department of the Environment.
- G.M. Miller, BBC Pronouncing Dictionary of British Names (Oxford UP, 1971), p. 10.
- 14,744 x 1.2 = 17692.
- Young, Alex F. (2002). Old Banbridge. Catrine, Ayrshire: Stenlake Publishing. p. 3. ISBN 9781840332049.
- Young, Alex. Ibid. p. 3.
- "Placenames Database of Ireland". Retrieved 2010-02-30.
- "Northern Ireland Placenames Project". Retrieved 2010-05-30.
- Belfast Telegraph, "White Widow Samantha Lewthwaite now world's most wanted woman"
- Hajducki, 1974, map 8
- Hajducki, 1974, map 9
- Hajducki 1974, p. xiii.
- Baker 1972, pp. 146, 147.
- Baker 1972, p. 207.
- "Adream Schools Portal - *Abercorn Primary School (Banbridge) http://abercornprimaryschool.co.uk/". www.adream.tv. Retrieved 2010-03-22.
- "Schools Web Directory UK". www.schoolswebdirectory.co.uk. Retrieved 2010-03-22.
- Baker, Michael H.C. (1972). Irish Railways since 1916. London: Ian Allan. ISBN 978-0-7110-0282-1.
- Hajducki, S. Maxwell (1974). A Railway Atlas of Ireland. Newton Abbott: David & Charles. ISBN 0-7153-5167-2.