Whitehead, County Antrim

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Marine Parade, Whitehead - geograph.org.uk - 264264.jpg
The shorefront
Whitehead is located in Northern Ireland
Whitehead shown within Northern Ireland
Population 3,786 (2011 Census)
Country Northern Ireland
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district BT38
Dialling code 028
EU Parliament Northern Ireland
UK Parliament
NI Assembly
List of places
Northern Ireland
54°45′26″N 5°42′14″W / 54.757223°N 5.703964°W / 54.757223; -5.703964Coordinates: 54°45′26″N 5°42′14″W / 54.757223°N 5.703964°W / 54.757223; -5.703964

Whitehead is a small seaside town on the east coast of County Antrim, Northern Ireland, lying almost midway between the towns of Carrickfergus and Larne. It lies within the civil parish of Templecorran, the historic barony of Belfast Lower,[2] and is part of Mid and East Antrim. Before the Plantation of Ulster its name was recorded as both Whitehead and Kinbaine (from Irish an Cionn Bán, meaning 'the white head').[3]

Located at the base of Muldersleigh Hill, at the entrance to Belfast Lough, Whitehead lies in a small bay between the limestone cliffs of Whitehead and the black volcanic cliff of Blackhead, with the Blackhead Lighthouse on top, marking the entrance to the Lough. It had a population of 3,786 in the 2011 Census. Whitehead is notable in that there are no streets with the suffix "Street" in their name, giving rise to the nickname 'The Town With No Streets'.


One primary school exists within the town - Whitehead Primary School. Another school, Lourdes Primary School, operated until June 2011 when it closed down.

Whitehead High School, an all-girls secondary school, was present until its closure in 1986. It is now the site of a nursing home.



In late Victorian and Edwardian times, Whitehead was a popular seaside holiday destination and visitors flocked from Belfast and the surrounding area each year. The town also was home to an aerodrome during the First World War which housed two airships. Whitehead is a Victorian railway village with a well preserved conservation area, including the railway station. It is home to the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland,[4] County Antrim Yacht Club and the Council owned Bentra Golf Course, as well as being the starting point for the popular Gobbins Path seaside walk past Sunshine House, around Blackhead Lighthouse and along the Irish Sea cliffs of Islandmagee. Whitehead is about 20 miles from Belfast. On the opposite coast of Belfast Lough, the Copeland Islands, Bangor and part of the County Down coastline, are clearly visible. Whitehead received a silver at the Britain in Bloom awards in 2005 and 2006, and a bronze in 2007. The town's Brighter Whitehead group planted many of the flowers. In 2012 Northern Ireland's only Jubilee Wood was planted at Whitehead to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II.


The Troubles[edit]

For more information see The Troubles in Whitehead, County Antrim, which includes a list of incidents in Whitehead during the Troubles resulting in two or more fatalities. The UDA South East Antrim Brigade lists Whitehead as a base of operations.[5]


  • Neighbours actress Jackie Woodburne lived in Whitehead before her family emigrated to Australia.[6]
  • Sting (Gordon Sumner) lived with ex-wife Frances Tomelty in Whitehead during the mid-1970s.[7] The wooden house on the coastal path that they lived in was originally a temperance hotel and has recently been replaced with a new building.
  • Keith Gillespie (Northern Ireland footballer) went to Whitehead Primary School.[8]


Whitehead railway station is on the Larne Harbour to Belfast Central and Belfast Great Victoria Street line. Located on the Northern Ireland Railways network being part of the Belfast Suburban Rail as well as the home of the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland.

Conservation and Energy Saving[edit]

Transition Town Whitehead want to make Whitehead an example of a great place to live, a great place to work, a great place for visitors and to have a glowing reputation, not only in Northern Ireland but beyond. They would like Whitehead to be a town where local businesses would sell more locally produced food, where the local people could restore land and have local residents pay less for light and heat.[9]

Transition Town Whitehead are currently one of the six groups competing in the Power NI BIG Energy Saving Challenge, which is an exciting community based energy saving project in which six communities from across Northern Ireland compete over a year to win £20,000 worth of funding.[10]

2001 Census[edit]

Whitehead is classified as an intermediate settlement by the NI Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) (i.e. with population between 2,250 and 4,500 people). On Census day (29 April 2001) there were 3,702 people living in Whitehead. Of these:

  • 20.3% were aged under 16 years and 24.1% were aged 60 and over
  • 15.4% were from a Catholic background and 76.8% were from a Protestant background
  • 2.7% of people aged 16–74 were unemployed.

For more details see: NI Neighbourhood Information Service

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Hap-Scotch in Boneybefore". Ullans: The Magazine for Ulster-Scots. Ulster-Scots Academy. Retrieved 2 May 2017. 
  2. ^ "White Head". Place Names NI. Retrieved 4 May 2015. 
  3. ^ Placenames Database of Ireland
  4. ^ "Welcome to Whitehead Excursion Station". RPSI. Retrieved 2011-01-26. 
  5. ^ Mural directory from Conflict Archive on the Internet
  6. ^ "Jackie Woodburne article: Jackie hasn't found Mr Right in real life". www.ramsay-street.co.uk. Retrieved 2017-01-29. 
  7. ^ "Police Reunion, Stormont Castle, Belfast". sting.com. Retrieved 2017-01-29. 
  8. ^ "Keith Gillespie had so much promise but it was only partially fulfilled: A classic case of could have been - BelfastTelegraph.co.uk". BelfastTelegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 2017-01-29. 
  9. ^ "Transition Town Whitehead". RPSI. Retrieved 2011-07-15. 
  10. ^ "Power NI BIG Energy Saving Challenge - Whitehead". RPSI. Retrieved 2011-07-15.