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  • Irish: Crois Mhic Lionnáin
  • Cross/The Cross
Road leading into the village
Crossmaglen is located in Northern Ireland
Crossmaglen shown within Northern Ireland
Population 1,592 (2011 Census)
Irish grid reference H910152
• Belfast 52 mi (84 km)
Country Northern Ireland
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town NEWRY
Postcode district BT35
Dialling code 028
EU Parliament Northern Ireland
UK Parliament
NI Assembly
List of places
Northern Ireland
54°04′38″N 6°36′32″W / 54.0773°N 6.6088°W / 54.0773; -6.6088Coordinates: 54°04′38″N 6°36′32″W / 54.0773°N 6.6088°W / 54.0773; -6.6088

Crossmaglen (from Irish: Crois Mhic Lionnáin, meaning "Mac Lionnáin's cross")[1][2] is a village and townland in County Armagh, Northern Ireland. It had a population of 1,592 in the 2011 Census and is the largest village in South Armagh. The village centre is the site of a large Police Service of Northern Ireland base and formerly of an observation tower (known locally as the "look-out post").

Cardinal Ó Fiach Square, Crossmaglen

The square's name commemorates Cardinal Tomás Ó Fiaich, a local man who became Primate of All Ireland (head of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland), and who died in 1990. However the Cardinal originated from Crossmaglen's close neighbours, Cullyhanna. Crossmaglen also gives its name to a GAA team.



On 13 January 1921, during the Irish War of Independence, the Irish Republican Army (IRA) shot dead an Ulster Special Constabulary (USC) constable in Crossmaglen. He was the first member of the USC to be killed whilst on duty.[3]

The Troubles[edit]

The British Army had a major presence in the area during "the Troubles" despite being unwanted by most of the local population. Crossmaglen and the wider South Armagh/South Down area was a republican stronghold and republican paramilitaries were very active. This earned it the nickname "Bandit Country".[4][5] Labour Party MP Clare Short said in 1983 "It is ridiculous that British troops are here in Crossmaglen. The claim is that they're in Ireland keeping the peace between the two communities. But there is only one community in South Armagh, so what the heck are they doing here?"[6] During the Troubles, at least 58 police officers and 124 soldiers were killed by the Provisional Irish Republican Army in South Armagh, many in Crossmaglen itself.

Gaelic games[edit]

Crossmaglen in recent years has become known for its Gaelic football team, Crossmaglen Rangers, who won the All-Ireland Senior Club Football Championship in 1997, 1999, 2000, 2007 (after a replay), 2011 and again in 2012 (but lost the final to Tullylish in 2013). The manager and several players of Rangers went on to win the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship with their county team in 2002 and reached the final again in 2003, only to lose to neighbours Tyrone. One of Crossmaglen's most notable players is Oisín McConville, who is also Ulster's top scoring player. The county team were also in the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship final in 1953; local players Gene Morgan and Frank Kernan were on the team but they were defeated by Kerry. Armagh also made it to the 1977 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Final, but were beaten by Dublin.

There was an ongoing dispute for years between Crossmaglen Rangers, the Morgan family of Crossmaglen, and the British Army over the positioning of the army base which was placed on the Rangers pitch and on the back garden of the Morgan family home on Cardinal Ó Fiaich Square. This was remedied, beginning in April 1999.[7]

Crossmaglen Rangers hold the national record of 39 county titles, including 13-in-a-row. They also hold the record of nine Ulster club titles.


2001 Census[edit]

Crossmaglen 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 1,459 people living in Crossmaglen. Of these:

  • 27.0% were aged under 16 and 14.8% were aged 60 and over
  • 48.6% of the population were male and 51.4% were female
  • 97.0% were from a Catholic background and 0.8% were from a Protestant background
  • 6.5% of people aged 16–74 were unemployed.

For more details see: NI Neighbourhood Information Service


  1. ^ "Placenames NI". Placenames NI. 2010-01-20. Retrieved 2012-06-08.
  2. ^ "Placenames Database of Ireland". 2010-12-13. Retrieved 2012-06-08.
  3. ^ "January 1921". Archived from the original on 2012-06-09. Retrieved 2012-06-08.
  4. ^ "Army stands down in Northern Ireland but scars deep". Reuters. 1 August 2007. Retrieved 26 September 2011.
  5. ^ On the brink: rural post offices battle death by a thousand cuts Archived 2015-07-13 at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ Harnden, Toby (1999). Bandit Country. Hodder & Stoughton. p. 56. ISBN 034071736X.
  7. ^

External links[edit]