The former Northern Counties Committee railway viaduct at Randalstown railway station.
|Randalstown shown within Northern Ireland|
|Population||5,099 (2011 census)|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||Northern Ireland|
Randalstown is a townland and small town in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, located between the towns of Antrim and Toome. It has a very prominent disused railway viaduct and lies beside Lough Neagh and the Shane's Castle estate. The town is bypassed by the M22 motorway with junctions at both the eastern and western ends of the town. It had a population of 5,099 people in the 2011 Census.
The settlement sprang up within the townland of an Dún Mór (meaning "the great fort"), anglicised as Dunmore. Randalstown was named after the 2nd Earl and 1st Marquess of Antrim, Randal MacDonnell (1609–1683), and has strong links to the O'Neill family. The original stronghold of Edenduffcarrick was built in the 16th century and changed ownership repeatedly until it was renamed Shane's Castle after the new owner, Shane McBrian O'Neill. The O'Neill family still reside on the estate.
The 1798 rebellion commenced in Antrim following a meeting to prepare for revolt by the Ulster Directory on the 1st of February, 1798, at McClean's Inn. Randalstown. Robert McClean's "Great Inn" had long been a Volunteer meeting place. Following his death in 1790, his son Francis became the proprietor.
Randalstown has a strong history of linen and iron industries. A memorial to this history is in the middle of the town and made from the original turbine used to generate mains electricity for the town and items salvaged from the Old Bleach Linen Company founded by James Webb in 1864. An old linen mill chimney from the Old Bleach factory can be seen from most parts of the town. The Dorma Old Bleach factory which operated from a neighbouring site closed down in 2002.
On 1 October 1989, an IRA car bomb exploded outside the town's police station on New Street causing serious damage to nearby property.
Places of interest
- The Tudor style gateway to the Shane's Castle estate is in the town.
- Randalstown OC Presbyterian Church, a fine example of Irish Gothic.
- Around the corner from the gateway is the seven-piered, viaduct built in 1855 to carry the railway line over the River Main. This has had a new bridge installed and a walk path created as part of the local healthy walking areas.
- Craigmore Fishery, a Fly Fishing facility is located on the outskirts of the town.
- World of Owls, Northern Ireland's only owl, bird of prey and exotic animal conservation centre is located next to Randalstown Forest.
- Caddy, a hamlet 3 miles north of the Randalstown centre, was site of a new school in 1908. and also a centre of beekeeping in the 1950s.
In the 2011 Census Randalstown had a population of 5,099 people (1,991 households).
Randalstown is classified as a Small Town by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) (i.e. with population between 4,500 and 10,000 people). On Census day (29 April 2001) there were 4,956 people living in Randalstown. Of these:
- 25.7% were aged under 16 years and 15.5% were aged 60 and over
- 48.0% of the population were male and 52.0% were female
- 70.1% were from a Catholic and 27.7% were from a Protestant background
- 3.0% of people aged 16–74 were unemployed
- John Bodkin Adams, a suspected serial killer, was born to a Plymouth Brethren family in Randalstown on 21 January 1899 and lived here until 1901. He became a general practitioner and worked in Eastbourne from 1922. He was charged in 1957 with the murder of two patients but was acquitted. He was, however, suspected of causing the death of 163 other patients.
- David Ford, the leader of the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland since 2001 and Northern Ireland Minister of Justice (2010-2016) lives in Randalstown.
- Laurence McKeown a former member of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA)an author, playwright, screenwriter, who took part in the 1981 Irish hunger strike. He lasted 70 days. In 1995 he co-founded the Belfast Film Festival.
- Mount St. Michael's Primary School
- Maine Integrated Primary School
- St. Benedict's High School
- Randalstown Central Primary School is a mixed non-denominational primary school within the North Eastern Education and Library Board area.
- Market Houses in Northern Ireland
- List of towns and villages in Northern Ireland
- List of townlands in County Antrim
- Ulster's Hiddlin Swaatch – Culture Northern Ireland
- "Randalstown". Census 2011 Results. NI Statistics and Research Agency. Retrieved 22 April 2015.
- "Car bomb officer Peadar Heffron's leg amputated". BBC NI News (13 January 2010). 13 January 2010. Retrieved 25 January 2010.
- "Robinson and McGuinness condemn attack on policeman in Randalstown". NI Executive - OFMDFM Press Release (8 January 2010). Retrieved 25 January 2010.
- THE PARALIAMENTARY DEBATES - Page cccxlix 1908 Erection of New School at Caddy, Randalstown. Mr. SLOAN (Belfast, S.) : To ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, if plans and specifications have been prepared for the erection of a new school at Caddy, Randalstown ...
- British Bee Journal - Volume 102 - Page 259 1974 ... spirit level in setting the hive, and I have a viv id memory of a beautiful comb of eggs from a valuable breeder queen in Belfast being wrapped up for transport to Caddy, Randalstown, where nineteen virgin queens developed from it in 1953.
- NI Statistics and Research Agency website.
- Cullen, Pamela V., "A Stranger in Blood: The Case Files on Dr John Bodkin Adams", London, Elliott & Thompson, 2006, ISBN 1-904027-19-9