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Methodist Church, Blackwatertown - - 765037.jpg
Blackwatertown Road, with the Methodist Church
Blackwatertown is located in Northern Ireland
Location within Northern Ireland
Population376 (2011 Census)
CountryNorthern Ireland
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
EU ParliamentNorthern Ireland
List of places
Northern Ireland
54°24′47″N 6°42′00″W / 54.413°N 6.700°W / 54.413; -6.700Coordinates: 54°24′47″N 6°42′00″W / 54.413°N 6.700°W / 54.413; -6.700

Blackwatertown is a small village in County Armagh, Northern Ireland. It sits on the River Blackwater, in the townland of Lisbofin, at the border with County Tyrone. The villages of Benburb and Moy are nearby. Blackwatertown had a population of 376 in the 2011 Census.[1] The River Blackwater enters Lough Neagh west of Derrywarragh Island and is navigable from Maghery to Blackwatertown.[2]


In 1575, during the Tudor conquest of Ireland, the English built a fort at what is now Blackwatertown, to control this important river crossing in the heart of Gaelic Ulster. Most of the fort was on the eastern bank of the river, and there was a stone tower on the western bank. In February 1595, at the outset of the Nine Years' War, a Gaelic force led by Art MacBaron O'Neill assaulted and captured the fort from the English.

This fort is referenced in the village's Irish name, An Port Mór ("the great fort").[3] The wider townland is also called Lisbofin, from Lios Bó Finne meaning "fort of the white cow",[3] which may refer to one of the ringforts in the area.

Blackwatertown was one of the first places in Northern Ireland to erect street signs in the Irish language in 1980. The village recently had signs erected at the entrances indicating its name; previously signs were erected by local individuals indicating its name in the Irish language.


Blackwatertown had three schools: Blackwatertown Boys' Primary School and Blackwatertown Girls' Primary School, both of which were managed by the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools; and Blackwatertown Primary School, managed by Blackwatertown Methodist Church and attended by pupils of several denominations. As the non-Roman Catholic population dwindled Blackwatertown Primary School ceased to be viable and closed. The other two schools amalgamated and formed a new school known as St Jarlath's Primary School.[citation needed]


The Blackwatertown and Benburb Ancient Order of Hibernians Pipe Band, circa 1930

The local GAA club, Port Mór, plays at Junior level in county competitions.[4]

The local Boxing Club is St Jarlaths ABC.

The ancient sport of Road Bowling, known as Bullets, is still played along country roads. Two players throw a small metal ball (bullet) a set distance on a road; the winner is the player who finishes in the fewest throws. This sport is very popular in most parts of County Armagh and parts of Cork.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Blackwatertown". Census 2011 Results. NI Statistics and Research Agency. Retrieved 22 April 2015.
  2. ^ "Navigating the River Blackwater". Culture Northern Ireland. Archived from the original on 2008-02-10. Retrieved 2007-11-28.
  3. ^ a b Place Names NI
  4. ^ Armagh GAA website Archived September 3, 2012, at the Wayback Machine