Creggan, Derry

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For other places with the same name, see Creggan (disambiguation).
Housing on Creggan Heights.

Creggan (Irish: An Creagán; meaning stony place) is a large housing estate in Derry in Northern Ireland. It is situated on the outskirts of the city and is built on a hill. The name Creggan is derived from the Irish word creagán meaning stony place. The housing estate is very close to the border with County Donegal. The estate is often referred to locally as the Creggan.


Pre Troubles[edit]

The Creggan was originally built specifically to provide housing for the Catholic population of Derry. Considering there was a Catholic majority in the city, the Protestants needed to make sure they kept control of the city at all costs. When the Bogside became so over crowded in the 1940s-1960s, the Protestant minority had to put the Catholics somewhere in the same ward in the Bogside so they kept full control. As well as the use of Gerrymandering, there was the use of restricted franchise as only rate payers had the right to vote. So usually the male head of a family in whose name the rent book was held was registered to vote. No other adult in the same household had the right to vote. Middle class and upper class Protestants who owned more than one property in the city had the right to vote more than once. While this political dimension was important, it was the lack of suitable housing for Catholics which was the most pressing day to day problem with married couples living with their parents or with family who had housing in the new estates.

The Troubles[edit]

The Civil Rights movement that was occurring in Northern Ireland in the late 60s, took place consistently in Derry. This led to an outbreak of violence between the police, local Protestants and Catholics. Violence in the city originally started in the Bogside but quickly spread out to the rest of the city, which included the Creggan. One of these occurrences during that year took place in Derry and effectively became known as the Battle of the Bogside. This led to the IRA splitting into the Official IRA and Provisional IRA. In the early years 1969-72, the Officials were the most prominent in Creggan and the rest of Ireland with militant members carrying attacks out on the British Army such as Joe McCann, even though the Provisionals as a whole were carrying out a more violent campaign along with a bombing campaign in Derry City Centre. Following the introduction of the Internment without trial being carried out in the British government, the Bogside and Creggan effectively became a No-go area for the British government and was only controlled and policed by both wings of the IRA. This all existed until Operation Motorman in July 1972. After this, the No-go area across Ulster became fully controlled by the British Government. However this did not at all stop violence in the city. In 1972 the Officials called a ceasefire, then in 1974 called an end to their armed campaign. This prompted the creation of the Irish National Liberation Army, a radical left wing group formed of hardliner republicans led by Seamus Costello. By 1972, after Motorman, the British Army conducted large scale operations in the once no go areas. It caused more open clashes with the British Army, and the citizens of the Creggan and the rest of Derry. This violence continued to occur up to the early 1990s when violence in the city started to calm and move mainly to Belfast.

Subsequent History[edit]

Today the Creggan has experienced minimal change. It has seen minimal redevelopment compared to other areas in the city but twenty-first-century houses are somewhat known throughout the area. The area is also a stronghold for Dissident Republican activity. The area after the Belfast Agreement there have always frequent street riots but the largest since 1998 was the 2011 Northern Ireland riots. The riots took place in other parts of Northern Ireland but in Derry city they mostly in the Bogside and Creggan. The vigilante group Republican Action Against Drugs formed in 2008 has a very strong presence in the Bogside and Creggan. The groups goal is to use punishment shootings and even kill any suspected drug dealers. Out of all the Dissident Republican groups that show the most presence in the area is the Real IRA. Óglaigh na hÉireann (Real IRA splinter group) makes a presence in the city but less than the Real IRA, and the Continuity IRA makes a very small presence in the city. But even with the Dissident groups being active strongly in the Creggan and Bogside areas's, the Provisional IRA are still by far the strongest in the Creggan Estate and the City as a whole.



  • Holy Child Primary School
  • St John's Primary School


Places of interest[edit]

  • Graveyard - Derry's largest graveyard.
  • Creggan Country Park - recreation centre.
  • Murals commemorating the 1972 Olympics in Munich.[2]
  • Bishop's Field - Astro-Turf pitch.

Notable people from Creggan[edit]

2001 Census[edit]

Two wards in Derry have the name Creggan- Creggan Central and Creggan South.

Creggan Central and South are classified by the NI Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) as being within Derry Urban Area (DUA). On Census day (29 April 2001) there were 3,504 people living in Creggan Central and 2,453 people living in Creggan South.

Of those living in Creggan Central:

  • 34.1% were aged under 16 years and 9.1% were aged 90 and over
  • 46.5% of the population were male and 53.5% were female
  • 98.7% were from a Catholic background and 0.9% were from a Protestant background
  • 12.5% of people aged 16–74 were unemployed

Of those living in Creggan South:

  • 30.2% were aged under 16 years and 15.6% were aged 60 and over
  • 45.6% of the population were male and 54.4% were female
  • 98.8% were from a Catholic background and 0.9% were from a Protestant background
  • 10.0% of people aged 16–74 were unemployed

For more details see: NI Neighbourhood Information Service

NIMDM Deprivation 2005[edit]

Of 582 wards in Northern Ireland, Creggan Central is the 11th most deprived while Creggan South is ranked 15th.

For more details see: NI Neighbourhood Information Service

Further reading[edit]

Extracts from - 'Creggan: more than a history' by Michael McGuinness and Garbhan Downey (2000). ISBN 0-946451-59-1.

'Off Broadway' by Garbhan Downey (Guildhall Press, 2005). A series of humorous short stories set in post-ceasefire Creggan.


  1. ^ St. Mary's College Retrieved 28 December 2006.
  2. ^ A Directory of Murals - Album 34 Dr Jonathan McCormick. Retrieved 28 December 2006.
  3. ^ Hunger Strikers of 1981 Published in IRIS, Vol. 1, No. 2, November 1981. IRIS was a publication of the Sinn Féin Foreign Affairs Bureau. Retrieved 28 December 2006.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 54°59′39.27″N 7°21′5.04″W / 54.9942417°N 7.3514000°W / 54.9942417; -7.3514000