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St Columbas Church of Ireland - geograph.org.uk - 512395.jpg
St Columba's Church of Ireland
Draperstown is located in Northern Ireland
Draperstown shown within Northern Ireland
Population 1,638 (2001 Census)
Country Northern Ireland
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district BT
Dialling code 028
EU Parliament Northern Ireland
NI Assembly
List of places
Northern Ireland
County Londonderry
54°47′38″N 6°46′59″W / 54.794°N 6.783°W / 54.794; -6.783Coordinates: 54°47′38″N 6°46′59″W / 54.794°N 6.783°W / 54.794; -6.783

Draperstown (locally [ˈdRɛpərzˈtəun] or [ˈdriːpərzˈtəun][3]) is a village in the Sperrin Mountains in County Londonderry, Northern Ireland. It is situated in the civil parish of Ballynascreen and is part of Mid-Ulster district. It is also part of the Church of Ireland parish of Ballynascreen and the Catholic parish of Ballinascreen, and within the former barony of Loughinsholin. The village had a population of 1,638 people in the 2001 Census.


Draperstown had its name bestowed upon it in 1818 by the Worshipful Company of Drapers, which had previously named Moneymore as Draperstown.[4]

Prior to this however the settlement was originally known as "Borbury" (from Irish: Bóthar Buí, meaning "yellow road").[2][4] It was then recorded as being called the "Cross" in 1813 and "Moyheelan" in 1821.[4]

Despite the name given to it by the Drapers' company, locals continued to commonly refer to the settlement with a variety of names:

  • the Cross, in reference to the crossroads where the market was held,[4]
  • Moyheelan, after the townland of Moyheeland (from Irish: Maigh Chaoláin, meaning "plain of the marshy stream"), which it was founded in,[4]
  • the Cross of Ballynascreen, after the fact that it was the main crossroads in the parish of Ballynascreen,[4]
  • Ballinascreen (from Irish: Baile na Scrine, meaning "the land/territory of the shrine""),[2][4] after the Roman Catholic parish.
  • Draperstown-cross,[4] after the crossroads that were the main feature of the settlement
  • Ballynacross, of which the Irish form Baile na Croise, meaning "townland of the crossroad", is used as the present Irish name for Draperstown.[2]

The term "screen" in the popular Irish song The Verdant Braes of Screen apparently refers to Ballinascreen.

Local landmarks[edit]

The following are local listed buildings or special conservation areas:

  • St. Columba's Church, Church of Ireland, Tobermore Road, built 1888
  • Courthouse, 20 High Street, built 1839
  • Presbyterian Meeting House, 47 High Street, built 1843
  • The core of the village was designated a Conservation Area in 1979.


Draperstown 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 1,638 people living in Draperstown.[5] Of these:

  • 24.4% were aged under 16 and 15.0% were aged 60 and over
  • 48.9% of the population were male and 51.1% were female
  • 96.7% were from a Catholic background and 2.8% were from a Protestant background
  • 4.3% of people aged 16–74 were unemployed.

For more details see: NI Neighbourhood Information Service

Famous people[edit]

The famous Kentucky Idle Hour Stock Farm horse breeder Edward R. Bradley's family originated in the Sixtowns area of Ballynascreen, five kilometres west of Draperstown. A hero of the American Civil War, Captain Charles McAnally was originally from Sixtowns, but emigrated to the United States and joined the Union Forces, the 69th Pennsylvania Volunteers, at the outset of the war. As well as taking part in the crucial action of Pickett's Charge at the Battle of Gettysburg, He was awarded the Medal of Honor after his exploits during the Battle of Spotsylvania. He is listed in the Roll of Honour that "In a hand-to-hand encounter with the enemy captured a flag, was wounded in the act, but continued on duty until he received a second wound." He survived the war and ended his days near Austin, Texas.[citation needed]

The best-selling writer Christina McKenna grew up in Forgetown, a rural community some three miles from Draperstown. She attended St Colm's High School, Draperstown, from 1970 to 1975. She graduated with an honours degree in Painting from Ulster University in 1980, and went on to study English at postgraduate level at Ulster University at Coleraine. She is the author of seven books, her most successful being the Tailorstown series (the name is a play on Draperstown): The Misremembered Man (2008), The Disenchanted Widow (2013) and The Godforsaken Daughter (2015).


The annual Glasgowbury Festival is held near Draperstown. Local bands, as well as some more famous names appear. The last event was held on Saturday, 21 July 2012. However Glasgowbury is not on anymore. Sperrins Balloon Festival also is held in Draperstown every year, with hot air balloon enthusiasts gathering in Draperstown. Weekly live music gigs take place in The Cellar Bar.[citation needed]


Draperstown railway station opened on 20 July 1883, closed for passenger traffic on 1 October 1930 and finally closed altogether on 3 July 1950.[6] The Draperstown branch ran from Magherafelt with an intermediate station at Desertmartin.


  • Naíscoil na Speiríní, an Irish language medium pre-school, in which all subjects are taught in Irish.
  • Gaelscoil na Speiríní, an Irish language medium primary school, in which all subjects are taught in Irish.
  • St Mary's Primary School
  • St Colm's High School


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Gaun forrit". Special EU Programmes Body. Retrieved 5 April 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c d The Placenames Branch (Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs) [1]
  3. ^ Toner, Gregory. Place-Names of Northern Ireland, p. 85. Queen's University of Belfast, 1996; ISBN 0-85389-613-5
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Toner, Gregory; Place-Names of Northern Ireland, Volume Five, County Derry I, The Moyola Valley, 1996. ISBN 0-85389-613-5
  5. ^ Ward Information for Draperstown at NINIS Website
  6. ^ "Draperstown station" (PDF). Railscot - Irish Railways. Retrieved 2007-10-12.