||This article includes a list of references, related reading or external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks inline citations. (September 2013)|
|Irish: Baile Eachaidh|
Road into Bellaghy in 2007
Bellaghy shown within Northern Ireland
|Population||1,063 (2001 Census)|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||Northern Ireland|
|UK Parliament||Mid Ulster|
|NI Assembly||Mid Ulster|
Bellaghy (from Irish: Baile Eachaidh, meaning "Eachaidh's Town") is a village in County Londonderry, Northern Ireland. It lies north west of Lough Neagh and about 5 miles north east of Magherafelt. In the middle of the village lies the junction of three main roads leading to Magherafelt, Portglenone and Toome. It had a population of 1,063 people in the 2001 Census.
Although there were Gaelic settlements in the area beforehand, Bellaghy was one of the first planned towns in Ireland. The village dates back to the early 17th century when it was one of many towns built and settled under the authority of the Vintners Company of London as part of the Plantation of Ulster. In 1622, according to a manuscript of a Captain Thomas Ash, Bellaghy consisted of a church, a castle, a Corn Mill and twelve houses.
During the Plantation, a fortified house with surrounding walls including two circular towers at opposite corners were built in the village. This is the best restored example to be found anywhere in Northern Ireland. Recent excavations have revealed that the fortified house was built on the site of a Gaelic ringfort. The house was attacked, but remained intact, in the 1641 rebellion when many of the other houses in the village were burnt to the ground. Locally it was always referred to as "The Castle" and lies on Castle Street. The refurbished house was opened to the public in 1996 as "Bellaghy Bawn" (though that name was not used in the locality previously) and features exhibitions on local natural history, the history of the Ulster Plantation and the poetry of Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney. Heaney lived in the Bellaghy area for most of his childhood and is buried in the graveyard of St Mary's Church.
Bellaghy is classified as a Village by the NI Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) (i.e. with population between 1,000 and 2,250 people). On Census day (29 April 2001) there were 1,063 people living in Bellaghy. Of these:
- 31.4% were aged under 16 years and 12.7% were aged 60 and over
- 49.9% of the population were male and 50.1% were female
- 86.0% were from a Catholic background and 14.0% were from a Protestant background
- 4.6% of people aged 16–74 were unemployed
For more details see: NI Neighbourhood Information Service
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Bellaghy.|