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St Colmcille's church on High Street
|Population||11,257 (2011 Census)|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Website||Holywood virtual community|
Holywood (// HOL-ee-wuud) is a town in the metropolitan area of Belfast in County Down, Northern Ireland. It is a civil parish and townland of 755 acres lying on the shore of Belfast Lough, between Belfast and Bangor. Holywood Exchange and Belfast City Airport are nearby. The town hosts an annual jazz and blues festival.
The English name Holywood comes from Latin Sanctus Boscus 'holy wood'. This was the name the Normans gave to the woodland surrounding the monastery of St Laiseran, son of Nasca. The monastery was founded by Laiseran before 640 and was on the site of the present Holywood Priory. The earliest Anglicised form appears as Haliwode in a 14th-century document. Today, the name is pronounced Hollywood.
In the 17th century, Ulster ports began to rise in prominence. In 1625, William Pitt was appointed as Customer of the ports of Newcastle, Dundrum, Killough, Portaferry, Donaghadee, Bangor and Holywood.
In the early 19th century, Holywood, like many other coastal villages throughout Ireland, became popular as a resort for sea-bathing. Many wealthy Belfast merchants chose the town and the surrounding area to build large homes for themselves. These included the Kennedys of Cultra and the Harrisons of Holywood. Dalchoolin House stood on the site of the present Ulster Transport Museum, while Cultra Manor was built between 1902–04 and now houses part of the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum.
The railway line from Belfast to Holywood opened in 1848, and this led to rapid development. The population of Holywood was approximately 3,500 in 1900 and had grown to 12,000 by 2001. This growth, coupled with that of other towns and villages along the coastal strip to Bangor, necessitated the construction of the Holywood Bypass in the early 1970s. Holywood today is a popular residential area and is well known for its fashionable shops, boutiques, arts and crafts.
The Old Priory ruins lie at the bottom of the High Street. The tower dates from 1800, but the oldest ruins date from the early 13th century. The Priory graveyard is the resting place for many distinguished citizens including the educational reformer, Dr Robert Sullivan, and the Praeger family. Robert Lloyd Praeger (1865–1953) was an internationally renowned botanist and his sister, Rosamond Praeger (1867–1954), gained fame as a sculptor and writer. "Johnny the Jig", one of her sculptures, is situated in the town. Praeger House at Sullivan Upper Grammar School is named after the family. Bishop Robert Bent Knox is also buried there.
On 17 June 1994, Garnet Bell, a former pupil bearing a grudge, entered an assembly hall at Sullivan Upper School and used a flamethrower to attack students taking A-level examinations. Six pupils were injured; three of them seriously.
On 12 April 2010, at around 12:24am, a car bombing occurred near Palace Barracks, a British Army barracks on the edge of Holywood's town centre. An elderly man was blown off his feet and had to be treated in hospital. The bomb was allegedly driven towards the base in a hijacked taxi. The Real IRA claimed responsibility for the attack.
On Census day (27 March 2011) there were 11,257 people living in Holywood. Of these:
- 18.29% were aged under 16 years and 18.79% were aged 65 and over
- 48.99% of the population were male and 51.01% were female
- 62.25% were from a Protestant or other Christian background and 23.11% were from a Catholic Christian background.
- 3.39% of people aged 16–74 were unemployed.
Places of interest
- Holywood is famous for its maypole at the crossroads in the centre of town. Its origin is uncertain, but, according to local folklore, it dates from 1700, when a Dutch ship is said to have run aground on the shore nearby, and the crew erected the broken mast to show their appreciation of the assistance offered to them by the townsfolk. The maypole is still used for dancing at the annual May Day fair.
- Nearly as famous, is the adjacent Maypole Bar, locally known as Ned's or Carty's. It was first licensed in 1857, and, from then until 2018, it has had only 3 proprietors. County Donegal native, Ned Carty, bought it from Mick O'Kane in the late 1960s. It had been owned by O'Kane since 1908. It is now run by Ned's son, Brian Carty.
- There is a Norman motte in the town which may have been constructed on an earlier burial mound.
- The Ulster Folk and Transport Museum illustrating the way of life and traditions of the people of Ulster is nearby, at Cultra.
The first section of the Belfast and County Down Railway (BCDR) line from Belfast to Holywood, along with Holywood railway station, opened on 2 August 1848. The line was extended to Bangor by the Belfast, Holywood and Bangor Railway (BHBR), opening on 1 May 1865, and acquired by the BCDR in 1884. Holywood station was closed for goods traffic on 24 April 1950.
The town contains the following schools: Holywood Primary School, Holywood Nursery School, Holywood Rudolf Steiner School, Priory Integrated College, Rockport School, St. Patrick's Primary School, and Sullivan Preparatory School and Sullivan Upper School.
Holywood Cricket Club is amalgamated with the Holywood R.F.C. Cricket may have been played in Holywood as early as 1860 but the present club, as we know it, was formed as a result of a meeting held on Monday, 28 March 1881. In the first season games against Ballynahinch, Enfield, Lurgan, North Down and Sydenham followed the opening game against Wellington, when the team was captained by Joe Ross. The club's first home was at Kinnegar where the club President and Benefactor for many years gave use of part of his land to the club free of charge. The members worked hard to turn the area into a cricket ground and by 1883 had secured sufficient money to erect a new pavilion.
North Down Borough Council has provided HCC with a new home at Seapark. "Seapark Oval" was finally ready during the 2005 season, after 8 years of using the pitch at Sullivan School. The club had been forced off the Belfast Road grounds it occupied for 100+ years due to the GAA upgrading the pitch it leases from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Connor and Down, which meant that with the playing surfaces of the two sports pitches being at different levels, cricket could no longer be played at this venue unless the ground was raised to the same level as the GAA pitch. The cricket club now share the Seapark grounds with a bowling club and Holywood Football Club, the latter hoping to secure new grounds at Spafield in the near future. There are also plans for a new club house at the Seapark grounds.
Holywood F.C. was formed in 1983 following the amalgamation of two Northern Amateur League teams, Loughview Star (1961–83) and Holywood Town (1972–83). These two clubs had not been very successful, though Loughview had caused a sensation when they reached the Clarence Cup final while still a Second Division club, losing 2–0 to Lisburn Rangers in 1964–65. Loughview won Division 2B in 1981–82 and after the amalgamation, the new club finished runners up in 2b in 1992–93, but were soon relegated again. The club's biggest day came when they won the IFA Junior Cup final in 1989–90, beating their town rivals Holywood Rec. in the decider. The club has enjoyed success in recent years, by winning the 2a title and the Cochrane & Corry Cup in the 1999–2000 season. As a result, the club were promoted for the first time in their history to intermediate status in Division 1B.
The first Gaelic Athletic Association club in Holywood was organised in 1927. It was called St Colmcille's. The team's strip was made up of black shorts and black shirts with white collars. This early club team also sponsored a handball team and a drama club. Although successful in the early days, the club lasted only ten years. It was revived in 1948 under the title of Holywood's Patron Saint, St. Laiseran, by John Regan, Davy McCoy and Paddy McNally, and lasted until it withdrew from the League in 1956.
The successful Thomas Russell Gaelic Club was formed in 1962 and soon earned the name "the Holywood Giant Killers". It played on a notoriously uneven pitch in the 'Convent Fields'. But early success did not continue – the club struggled on until 1976 when it withdrew from the Antrim League. St. Paul's Gaelic Football Club was founded in 1979 as an amalgamation of the Holywood, Bangor, and Newtownards clubs. It operated under a deal with Holywood Cricket Club which maintained the Gaelic pitch in return for using a small section of the lower pitch as part of its 'out-field'.
Holywood Golf Club, founded in 1904 is where 2011 US Open, 2012 US PGA, The Open 2014, and 2014 US PGA champion Rory McIlroy learned his golf, and the champion still calls it his home course. Nearby Craigavad is the home of the Royal Belfast Golf Club, the oldest in Ireland, dating from 1881. The club's present course was designed by architect Harry Colt in 1926.
- Mark Adair, former cricketer for Warwickshire County Cricket Club; former Sullivan Upper School pupil
- Desmond Boal, QC, leading Northern Ireland barrister and former Stormont MP, resided in Holywood
- Charles Brett, architectural historian, born in Holywood
- Rev Stephen Brown, SJ, writer, librarian, founder of the Central Catholic Library (in Dublin), was born in Holywood
- Barbara Callcott, Australian television personality, born in Holywood
- Darren Cave, played rugby for Ulster Rugby and helped Ireland Under-20 win the Six Nations Grand Slam in 2007
- Robert Cunningham (minister) (died 1637) first Presbyterian minister
- Jamie Dornan, actor, model
- Garth Ennis, comic writer
- Mick Fealty, editor of Slugger O'Toole was raised in Holywood
- Henry Harrison, MP, secretary to Charles Stewart Parnell, is buried in the Priory graveyard in the centre of Holywood
- Maurice Jay, U105 radio station presenter
- David Jeffrey, Northern Irish football manager and former player.
- Bap Kennedy, singer-songwriter and record producer
- Tom Kerr, comic strip artist
- Stephen Martin, Great Britain and Ireland field hockey international
- Robert McCartney, QC, leading barrister and ex-UK Unionist Westminster MP for North Down (1995–2001); resides in Holywood.
- Alban McGuinness, lawyer and Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) politician; born in Holywood.
- Rory McIlroy, professional golfer. Winner of the 2011 U.S. Open, 2012 PGA Championship, 2014 Open Championship, and 2014 PGA Championship.
- Margaret Mountford, lawyer, businesswoman and advisor to Alan Sugar.
- Dermot Murnaghan is a television news anchorman whose family moved to Holywood where he lived just off Church View and attended Sullivan Upper School.
- Rosamund Praeger, artist, sculptor and writer; younger sister of the naturalist Robert Lloyd Praeger
- Davy Sims broadcaster and writer, former head of BBC Northern Ireland New Media; born and raised in Holywood
- Michael Smiley, comedian, writer and actor
- Clive Standen, an actor, born in Holywood
- John St. Clair Boyd, born in Holywood
- Shane Todd, comedian, writer and actor.
- Peter Woodman, archaeologist
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Holywood.|
- Holywood (civil parish)
- List of settlements in Northern Ireland by population
- List of civil parishes of County Down
- The Online Scots Dictionary Retrieved 20 August 2012.
- "Ard Mhic Nasca/Holywood". Logainm.ie.
- "Ulster Place Names, County Down". Ainm:Journal of the Ulster Place-name Society (1987, 1988). Archived from the original on 14 December 2010. Retrieved 22 August 2007.
- O'Sullivan, Aidan; Breen, Colin (2007). Maritime Ireland. An Archaeology of Coastal Communities. Stroud: Tempus. p. 211. ISBN 978-0-7524-2509-2.
- Praeger, Robert Lloyd (1969). The Way that I Went: An Irishman in Ireland. Dublin: Allen Figgis. pp. 10–12. ISBN 0-900372-93-1.
- "Flame-thrower case man 'did not mean to hurt pupils'". London, UK: The Independent. 20 June 1995. Retrieved 1 August 2009.
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- "Real IRA admits NI MI5 base bomb". BBC News. 12 April 2010. Retrieved 4 May 2010.
- "Census 2011 Population Statistics for Holywood Settlement". Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA). Retrieved 10 August 2019.
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