The former Northern Counties Committee railway viaduct at Randalstown railway station.
|Population||5,126 (2011 census)|
|• Belfast||19 mi (31 km)|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
Randalstown is a townland and small town in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, between 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 5,126 people in the 2011 Census.
The townland of Randalstown was originally known as An Dún Mór ("the great fort"), anglicised as Dunmore. This refers to a medieval motte-and-bailey castle built by the Irish on the west bank of the river Main just south of the town. A castle known as Edenduffcarrick, later Shane's Castle, was built near Randalstown in the 14th century by the O'Neills of Clannaboy.
From at least the 1650s the town was known as "Iron Mills" (Muilinn Iarainn in Irish, anglicised "Mullynieren"). In 1667, the town was created a free borough and was officially re-named Randalstown. It was re-named to mark the marriage of Randal MacDonnell, 1st Marquess of Antrim to Rose O'Neill of Shane's Castle.
The 1798 United Irishmen rebellion began in Antrim following a meeting to prepare for revolt by the Ulster Directory on 1 February 1798, at McClean's Inn, Randalstown. Robert McClean's "Great Inn" had long been an Irish Volunteers 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.
The town used to have an active railway station which opened in 1848 by the Belfast and Ballymena Railway. The station connected the town to the Northern Counties Committee line. The station was closed in 1950 and has been disused ever since.
On Census Day (27 March 2011) the usually resident population of Randalstown was 5,126 accounting for 0.28% of the NI total. Of these:
- 99.02% were from the white (including Irish Traveller) ethnic group
- 54.74% belong to or were brought up Catholic and 39.82% belong to or were brought up in a 'Protestant and other (non-Catholic) Christian (including Christian related)'
- 46.29% indicated that they had a British national identity, 24.33% had an Irish national identity and 32.91% had a Northern Irish national identity.
- 10.67% had some knowledge of Irish; 9.30% had some knowledge of Ulster-Scots; and 4.72% did not have English as their first language.
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 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.
- 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.
- Alan Jones, Professor of Architecture at Queen's University Belfast, past president of the Royal Society of Ulster Architects and was elected the 77th President of the Royal Institute of British Architects for 1 September 2019 – 2021.
- Laurence McKeown, author, playwright, screenwriter, and former member of the IRA who took part in the 1981 Irish hunger strike, striking for 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.
- List of localities in Northern Ireland by population
- List of towns and villages in Northern Ireland
- List of townlands in County Antrim
- Market Houses in Northern Ireland
- Ireland, Culture Northern (8 February 2006). "Ulster's Hiddlin Swaatch". culturenorthernireland.org.
- "Baile Raghnaill/Randalstown". Logainm.ie.
- "Census 2011 Population Statistics for Randalstown Settlement". Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA). Retrieved 30 July 2019.
- "Place Names NI - Home". www.placenamesni.org.
- Ulster in '98: episodes and anecdotes. Robert Magill Young 1893 Marcus Ward Belfast
- "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.
- "Census 2011 Population Statistics for Randalstown Settlement". NISRA. Retrieved 18 February 2022.
- "ARCHES begins consultation on how to bring more funding and projects …". Archived from the original on 23 July 2012.
- 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 vivid 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.
- Cullen, Pamela V., "A Stranger in Blood: The Case Files on Dr John Bodkin Adams", London, Elliott & Thompson, 2006, ISBN 1-904027-19-9