|Irish: Baile Raghnail|
Randalstown shown within Northern Ireland
|Population||4,956 (2001 Census)|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||Northern Ireland|
|UK Parliament||South Antrim|
Randalstown is a townland and small town in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, located between the towns of Antrim and Toome. It had a population of 4,956 people in the 2001 Census. It has a very prominent disused railway viaduct and lies beside Lough Neagh and the Shane's Castle estate. The town is bypassed by the M22 motorway with junctions at both the eastern and western ends of the town.
The settlement sprang up within the townland of an Dún Mór (meaning "the great fort"), anglicised as Dunmore. Randalstown was named after the 2nd Earl and 1st Marquess of Antrim, Randal MacDonnell (1609–1683), and has strong links to the O'Neill family. The original stronghold of Edenduffcarrick was built in the 16th century and changed ownership repeatedly until it was renamed Shane's Castle after the new owner, Shane Mc Brian O'Neill. The O'Neill family still reside on the estate.
Randalstown has a strong history of linen and iron industries. A memorial to this history is in the middle of the town and made from the original turbine used to generate mains electricity for the town and items salvaged from the Old Bleach Linen Company founded by James Webb in 1864. An old linen mill chimney from the Old Bleach factory can be seen from most parts of the town. The Dorma Old Bleach factory which operated from a neighbouring site closed down in 2002.
On 1 October 1989, an IRA car bomb exploded outside the town's police station on New Street causing serious damage to nearby property.
Places of interest
- The Tudor style gateway to the Shane's Castle estate is in the town.
- Around the corner from the gateway is the seven-piered, viaduct built in 1855 to carry the railway line over the River Maine. This has had a new bridge installed and a walk path created as part of the local healthy walking areas.
- Craigmore Fishery, a Fly Fishing facility is located on the outskirts of the town.
- World of Owls, Northern Ireland's premier owl, bird of prey and exotic animal conservation centre is located next to Randalstown Forest.
Randalstown is classified as a Small Town by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) (i.e. with population between 4,500 and 10,000 people). On Census day (29 April 2001) there were 4,956 people living in Randalstown. Of these:
- 25.7% were aged under 16 years and 15.5% were aged 60 and over
- 48.0% of the population were male and 52.0% were female
- 70.1% were from a Catholic and 27.7% were from a Protestant background
- 3.0% of people aged 16–74 were unemployed
For more details see: Northern Ireland Neighbourhood Information Service
- Suspected serial killer John Bodkin Adams, was born in Randalstown on 21 January 1899. He became a general practitioner and worked in Eastbourne from 1922. He was charged in 1957 with the murder of two patients but was acquitted. He was, however, suspected of causing the death of 163 other patients.
- James MacCauley, founder of the Yosemite Firefall event in the United States' Yosemite National Park.
- Laurence McKeown is an author, playwright, screenwriter, and former Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA) volunteer who took part in the 1981 Irish hunger strike.
- Donal McKeown, Auxiliary Bishop of Down and Connor
- David Neill, former Irish League footballer
- Randal Reid, currently playing for Ballyclare Comrades
- Alex Woods, 1919-2001. Light heavyweight boxer was born in Randalstown, and died in Melbourne, Australia.
- Randalstown Central Primary School is a mixed non-denominational primary school within the North Eastern Education and Library Board area.
- Ulster's Hiddlin Swaatch – Culture Northern Ireland
- "Car bomb officer Peadar Heffron's leg amputated". BBC NI News (13 January 2010). 13 January 2010. Retrieved 25 January 2010.
- "Robinson and McGuinness condemn attack on policeman in Randalstown". NI Executive - OFMDFM Press Release (8 January 2010). Retrieved 25 January 2010.
- NI Statistics and Research Agency website.
- Northern Ireland Neighbourhood Information Service website
- Cullen, Pamela V., "A Stranger in Blood: The Case Files on Dr John Bodkin Adams", London, Elliott & Thompson, 2006, ISBN 1-904027-19-9
- BoxRec - Alex Woods