Bellaghy

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Coordinates: 54°48′29″N 6°31′08″W / 54.808°N 6.519°W / 54.808; -6.519

Bellaghy
Irish: Baile Eachaidh
Bellaghy Village - geograph.org.uk - 569714.jpg
Road into Bellaghy in 2007
Bellaghy is located in Northern Ireland
Bellaghy
 Bellaghy shown within Northern Ireland
Population 1,063 (2001 Census)
District Magherafelt
County County Londonderry
Country Northern Ireland
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town MAGHERAFELT
Postcode district BT45
Dialling code 028
Police Northern Ireland
Fire Northern Ireland
Ambulance Northern Ireland
EU Parliament Northern Ireland
UK Parliament Mid Ulster
NI Assembly Mid Ulster
List of places
UK
Northern Ireland
County Londonderry

Bellaghy (from Irish: Baile Eachaidh, meaning "Eachaidh's Town")[1] 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.

History[edit]

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.

Bellaghy Bawn in 2007

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.

Two Bellaghy natives died participating in the 1981 Irish hunger strike: Francis Hughes and his cousin Thomas McElwee.

2001 Census[edit]

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

See also[edit]

References[edit]