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For other uses of "Kilrea", see Kilrea (disambiguation).
Irish: Cill Ria
Kilrea - - 342208.jpg
Kilrea is located in Northern Ireland
 Kilrea shown within Northern Ireland
Population 1,513 (2001 Census)
District Coleraine
County County Londonderry
Country Northern Ireland
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district BT51
Dialling code 028
EU Parliament Northern Ireland
UK Parliament East Londonderry
NI Assembly East Londonderry
List of places
Northern Ireland
County Londonderry

Coordinates: 54°58′00″N 6°35′00″W / 54.966667°N 6.583333°W / 54.966667; -6.583333

Kilrea (pronounced /kɪlˈr/ kil-RAY, from Irish: Cill Ria)[1][2] is a village, townland, historic town and civil parish in County Londonderry, Northern Ireland. In Irish the words "Cill Ria" mean church on the hill, and that is due to the fact that St. Patrick's Church of Ireland sits on Church Street looking over the town. It is near the River Bann, which marks the boundary between County Londonderry and County Antrim. In the 2001 Census it had a population of 1,513 people.[3]


There is a tradition that St Patrick visited the area during the fifth century, a story repeated recently in the book 'The Fairy Thorn' produced by Kilrea local historians. During the Plantation of Ulster Kilrea and the surrounding townlands were granted to the Worshipful Company of Mercers by King James I for settlement.[4] Their headquarters in Ulster were at nearby Movanagher on the banks of the River Bann. Today Kilrea is a market town and commercial centre of the surrounding district. The village is centred on 'The Diamond' which includes the town's War Memorial erected in honour of Kilrea men killed in the Great War.[5] The village is featured in the Orange song, Sprigs of Kilrea. It is also mentioned in the song Kitty the rose of Kilrea by The Irish Rover band.[citation needed]

The Troubles[edit]

Festival of the Fairy Thorn[edit]

A feature of Kilrea is its 'Fairy Thorn' tree in the grounds of First Kilrea Presbyterian Church. It is the focal point of the annual summer cross-community festival in the town.[6]



Bann Bridge at Kilrea
  • Kilrea Angling Club
  • Kilrea Camogie Club
  • Kilrea Golf Club
  • Kilrea Pádraig Pearses GAC
  • Kilrea United Football Club
  • Manor Golf and Sports Club
  • Go Pro Kart Racing Movanagher Road
  • Kilrea Sports Complex


  • Kilrea Primary School
  • St Columba's Primary School
  • St Paul's College
  • Crossroads Primary School


  • Boveedy Presbyterian Church
  • First Kilrea Presbyterian Church
  • Kilrea Baptist Church
  • Second Kilrea Presbyterian Church
  • St Anne's Roman Catholic Church[8]
  • St Patrick's Church of Ireland
  • Drumagarner Roman Catholic Church
Drumnagarner Catholic church.

2001 Census[edit]

Kilrea 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 1,513 people living in Kilrea. Of these:

  • 27.0% were aged under 16 years and 16.7% were aged 60 and over
  • 49.0% of the population were male and 51.0% were female
  • 69.3% were from a Catholic background and 29.8% were from a Protestant background
  • 5.2% of people aged 16–74 were unemployed

For more details see the Northern Ireland Neighbourhood Information Service

See also[edit]


External links[edit]