Hilltown, County Down
|Population||899 (2001 Census)|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||Northern Ireland|
Hilltown is a small village within the townland of Carcullion (from Irish: Carr Cuilinn) in County Down, Northern Ireland. Hilltown is the main village of the parish of Clonduff which also contains rural areas and another village named Cabra. It had a population of 899 people in the 2001 Census.
Hilltown has eight public houses in the high street, a legacy from 18th century smugglers who shared out their contraband here. The village has a livestock market on alternate Saturdays, and a large sale of rams in September. The Georgian market house opposite St John's parish church (1766) adjoins the old inn, the Downshire Arms. The weathervane on the pretty cupola is a fish, a reminder of the good fishing in the River Bann and its tributaries.
Hilltown sprang up within the townland called Carcullin, later Carcullion (whose name is derived from the Irish Carr Cuilin). While many people think that Hilltown obtained its name from the fact that it spreads out over at least two hills, it was actually named after the Hill family and Wills Hill, 1st Marquess of Downshire. The Hill family were English politicians who also gave their name to nearby Hillhall and Hillsborough. He became Marquess of Downshire. He created a large house for his residence. The Hills founded the village in 1766 so that people living in the area could find employment in the linen industry. In early 1853 the constable in charge of the local Royal Irish Constabulary station, A Dunlop, exchanged posts with the constable in Rostrevor, A Morton. Morton remained in charge of the Hilltown station until after 1869.
Hilltown is classified as a small village or hamlet by the NI Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) (i.e. with population between 500 and 1,000 people). On Census day (29 April 2001) there were 899 people living in Hilltown. Of these: 27.0% were aged under 16 years and 14.4% were aged 60 and over
- 48.8% of the population were male and 51.2% were female
- 96.9% were from a Roman Catholic background and 2.8% were from a Protestant background
- 5.1% of people aged 16–74 were unemployed.
Places of interest
- Goward Dolmen is an impressive megalithic monument two miles from Hilltown on the road to Castlewellan in Cabra. It is known locally as Pat Kearney's Big Stone or Cloughmore Cromlech. The huge granite capstone has slipped from its original horizontal position.
- The St Johns Church of Ireland is situated in the centre of the village. It was built by The Marquess of Downshire in the 18th Century.
- St. Patrick's Primary School, Hilltown – a large primary school with over 320 pupils, most of whose leavers further their education in Newry, Castlewellan or Warrenpoint.
- St. Paul's Primary School, Cabra – a smaller school located in Cabra which is part of the Clonduff parish, most leavers attend schools in Newry, Castlewellan or Warrenpoint.
Clonduff GAC (Chluain Daimh CLG) is the local Gaelic Club in the area. It accommodates 23 teams in all sports ranging from Gaelic football, Ladies Gaelic football, hurling, camogie and handball. The club takes part in Scór and Scór na nÓg events. It is the only club in the county to have teams competing in five Gaelic sports.