Kells, County Antrim
Kells (from the Irish: Na Cealla) is a village in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, near Ballymena. The area encompasses Kells and the village of Connor (Ulster-Scots: Connyer) which are very close together and have a joint primary school, library, development association etc. It had a population of 3,364 people in the 2011 Census. Kells is considered a staunchly loyalist area. It is within the Borough of Ballymena.
An old stone bridge crosses the Kells Water, separating Kells from the adjacent village of Connor.
There is much evidence, from written sources and archaeological material, that Connor (Irish: Con Doire: the oak wood of the wolf) was a sizeable, complex settlement in the Early Christian period, probably with monastic and secular elements coexisting. The church of the early monastic establishment at Connor was re-built as the cathedral of the medieval diocese of Connor and Kells. It was destroyed in the Confederate wars of the mid seventeenth century and replaced by the present Church of St Saviour early in the nineteenth century, its foundation stone for the church being laid in 1811 and the building consecrated in 1813. During in the Middle Ages, an Augustinian community was established at Kells nearby. This Augustinian Abbey survived into the early seventeenth century, but was burnt in 1641. Only one wall and some short runs of wall remain of the Abbey and these are now preserved in the grounds of Dinsmore's textile factory.
Connor was the site of a significant battle between the invading army of Edward de Brus and Richard Óg de Burgh, the 'Red Earl' of Ulster on 9 September 1315. Following the defeat of the Anglo-Normans by the Scots army Connor was sacked.
- Kells was formerly served by the Ballymena and Larne Railway, a narrow gauge railway. Kells railway station opened on 24 August 1878, closed for passenger traffic on 31 January 1933 and finally closed altogether on 3 June 1940.
Kells/Connor is classified as a Ward by the NI Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA). On Census day 2001 there were 3,364 people living in Kells/Connor. Of these:
- 20.90% were aged under 16 years and 15.10% were aged 60 and over
- 49.17% of the population were male and 50.80% were female
- 5.26% were from a Catholic background and 88.79% were from a Protestant background
- 3.46% of people aged 16–74 were unemployed
For more details see: NI Neighbourhood Information Service
- Carrickfergus Castle: Ulster-Scots translation NI DoE.
- "Kells station". Railscot - Irish Railways. Retrieved 2007-10-16.