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Benburb is located in Northern Ireland
Location within Northern Ireland
Irish grid referenceH815522
• Belfast43 miles
CountryNorthern Ireland
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtBT71
Dialling code028
EU ParliamentNorthern Ireland
UK Parliament
List of places
Northern Ireland
54°24′43″N 6°44′45″W / 54.4119°N 6.7459°W / 54.4119; -6.7459Coordinates: 54°24′43″N 6°44′45″W / 54.4119°N 6.7459°W / 54.4119; -6.7459

Benburb (from Irish: Beann Borb, meaning "proud/prominent cliff")[1]) is a village and townland in County Tyrone, Ireland. It lies 7.5 miles from Armagh and 8 miles from Dungannon. The River Blackwater ( Ireland) runs alongside the village as does the Ulster Canal.


Benburb's Main Street

It is best known, in historical terms, for the Battle of Benburb that took place there in 1646. This was fought between the armies of Confederate Ireland led by Owen Roe O'Neill and the Scottish Covenanters led by Munro. The battle resulted in a crushing victory for O'Neill's men at the townland of Drumflugh around a mile outside the village. It was commemorated in the ballad "The Battle of Benburb".

Since the Battle of Benburb was a rare 17th-century Irish military victory, in 1890 new Irish nationalist dominated Corporation in Dublin city renamed Barrack Street in Dublin's north inner city after the battle. Benburb Street runs between Queen Street and Blackhall Place. There is also a Benburb Street in south Belfast just off the Donegall Road.[2]

In later years Benburb became known for its linen production, as did many areas in Northern Ireland and later still for agriculture, most notably apple farming, and mushroom production.

Benburb was the home of the 17th century poet Maurice O'Dugan (fl.1660), who was reputed to have written the poems Gluas do chabhlach, Bhi Eoghan air buile, Faraoir chaill Eire a céile fircheart and the famous air The Coolin.[3]

Places of interest[edit]

The village is also home to the impressive Benburb Castle built in 1611 by Sir Richard Wingfield on the ruins of a military fortification constructed by Prince Shane O'Neill, circa 1558, at the base of a limestone cliff overlooking the River Blackwater, the border between County Tyrone and County Armagh. The castle is in excellent condition having been recently restored and stands in the grounds of the imposing Servite Priory, a religious order based in the village.

Benburb Priory[edit]

Wingfield was made Viscount Powerscourt in 1618 and the estate remained in the Wingfield family until sold in 1877 to Belfast distiller James Bruce, who died in 1917. It then went to his brother who sold it. The manor house passed through a number of owners before being requisitioned by the War Office as military hospital during World War II. From 1943 – 1944 the members of the British Army Medical Corp were stationed there, and from October 1943 to April 1944 it was the home to personnel of the American 7th Field Hospital. The hospital had 135 beds.[4] The Servite Order acquired the property in 1947, initially for a seminary. In more recent years the Priory has been a cross-community centre supporting over 30 groups spanning culture and heritage, older people, St Peregrine cancer support, education and rehabilitation.

The Priory is also home to Benburb Priory Library and Museum which holds extensive collections of Servite and Marian books and artefacts, the Servite archives for Britain and Ireland, as well as the O'Neill Collection relating to the O'Neill clans, the Priory (formerly Wingfield/Powerscourt) estate and local history.[5]


  • Benburb Primary School
  • Benburb Community Playgroup


19th century population[edit]

The population of the village decreased during the 19th century:[6][7]

Year 1841 1851 1861 1871 1881 1891
Population 330 253 275 192 222 241
Houses 63 63 60 45 49 58

21st century population[edit]

Benburb in the Northern Ireland UK Census in 2011 was classified as a Hamlet, with a population of 598 people.[citation needed]

  • 8.9% were 18 or younger
  • 11.7% were aged 60 and over
  • 40.0% were male
  • 60.0% were female
  • 55.6% were from a Catholic background
  • 25.4% were from a Protestant background
  • 19.0% stated another Religion or had no religion


The townland is situated in the historic barony of Dungannon Middle and the civil parish of Clonfeacle and covers an area of 185 acres.[8]

The population of the townland declined during the 19th century:[9][10]

Year 1841 1851 1861 1871 1881 1891
Population 64 58 - 56 121 35
Houses 12 12 - 13 24 10

The increase seen in the 1881 Census was ascribed mainly to the building of houses for millworkers.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Benburb". Place Names NI. Retrieved 18 March 2013.
  2. ^ Google Maps
  3. ^ Dictionary of National Biography, v.41 (1895), p.458
  4. ^ "About us", Benburb Priory
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Census of Ireland 1851". Enhanced Parliamentary Papers on Ireland. Retrieved 22 March 2013.
  7. ^ "Census of Ireland 1891". Enhanced Parliamentary Papers on Ireland. Retrieved 22 March 2013.
  8. ^ "Townlands of County Tyrone". IreAtlas Townland Database. Retrieved 28 December 2012.
  9. ^ "Census of Ireland 1851". Enhanced Parliamentary Papers on Ireland. Retrieved 28 December 2012.
  10. ^ "Census of Ireland 1891". Enhanced Parliamentary Papers on Ireland. Retrieved 28 December 2012.

External links[edit]