Ballymoney town hall.jpg

Ballymoney Town Hall
Ballymoney is located in Northern Ireland
Location within Northern Ireland
Population10,402 (2011 Census)
• Belfast48 mi (77 km)
CountryNorthern Ireland
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtBT53
Dialling code028
PoliceNorthern Ireland
FireNorthern Ireland
AmbulanceNorthern Ireland
UK Parliament
NI Assembly
List of places
Northern Ireland
55°04′16″N 6°30′29″W / 55.071°N 6.508°W / 55.071; -6.508Coordinates: 55°04′16″N 6°30′29″W / 55.071°N 6.508°W / 55.071; -6.508

Ballymoney (Irish: Baile Monaidh [ˌbˠalʲə ˈmˠɔnˠə], meaning 'townland of the moor'[3]) is a small town and civil parish in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. It is within the Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council area. The civil parish of Ballymoney is situated in the historic baronies of Dunluce Upper and Kilconway in County Antrim, and the barony of North East Liberties of Coleraine in County Londonderry.[4] It had a population of 10,402 people in the 2011 Census.[5]

Ballymoney is located on the main road between Coleraine and Ballymena, with good road and rail connections to the main cities in Northern Ireland, Belfast and Derry.

The Ballymoney area has the highest life expectancy of any area in Northern Ireland, with the average male life expectancy at birth being 79.9 years and 83.8 years for females in years between 2010 and 2012.[6] Conversely, it was revealed in 2013 that Ballymoney residents are more likely to die from heart disease than anywhere else in Northern Ireland.[7]

The town hosts the Ballymoney Drama Festival, the oldest drama festival in Ireland, which was founded in 1933. The town also hosts the Ballymoney Show, which is one of the oldest agricultural shows in Northern Ireland and was founded in 1902.[8]


Main Street, Ballymoney, in the early 1900s
Main Street, Ballymoney, in the early 1900s

16th & 17th century

In the 9th century CE there was an Irish Aonach, assembly place and market, closer to the River Bann, which, exposed to Viking raiders, may have moved to the site of the present town. In 1556, an account of an English expedition against the MacDonnells, a sept of the Scottish Clan Donald that was in possession of the wide expanse of north and east Antrim known as the Route and Glynns, records "a bishop's house, which was with a castle and a church joined together in one, called Ballymonyn".[9] Destroyed in the Irish Rebellion of 1641, no vestige of the bishop's house of castle remains, but a surviving tower of a church built in 1637 by Sir Randall MacDonnell is today the oldest structure in Ballymoney.[10]

In the wake of the devastation caused by the Tudor Conquest of Ulster, Sir Randall invited settlers from lowland Scotland.[11] Unlike the MacDonnells and the native Irish, the majority of these were not Roman Catholics, but neither did they recognise the episcopacy of the reformed church established under the British Crown.

18th century

In the 18th century, these Scottish Presbyterians, conscious of their disabilities both as "dissenters" from the established church and as tenants at will, left Ballymoney and the surrounding areas in growing numbers for the North American colonies.

From 1778, inspired by the revolt in the colonies, in which there kinsmen were a leading element, their disaffection took a more radical turn, first in the drilling and conventions of the Volunteer militia, and then from 1795, with the additional impetus of the French Revolution, in the Society of United Irishmen. The "test" or pledge of the Society "to form a Brotherhood of affection amongst Irishmen of every religious persuasion" in the cause of "an equal representation of all the people in Ireland",[12] was administered by leading residents of the town, among them a doctor, a schoolmaster and two attorneys.[13] When in June 1798, having despaired of parliamentary reform, the Society called for insurrection, men assembled on Dungobery Hill, parading with guns, pikes, pitchforks and scythes tied upon sticks. Although they quickly dispersed on news of the defeat of the larger rebel host at Antrim town,[13] reprisals were taken. Government troops burned the town, and many of the rebels were either hanged or "sent for transportation" (to the West Indies or to the penal colony of New South Wales).[14]

19th Century

In 1837, Lewis's Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, as "a market-town and post-town" containing 2,222 inhabitants (11,579 in the broader civil parish) with a long established linen market chiefly supplying the London market, and with "a very extensive trade ... in grain, butter, pork, and general provisions".[15] Transport was largely via the Bann. By 1860, the town was connected to both Belfast and Derry by rail.[16]

At the height of the Great Famine in 1847, entire families were being admitted to the Ballymoney Workhouse.  At one point it became vastly overcrowded with 870 inmates.The destitute families were separated, men, women and children being subject to distinct work regimes. By the end of the century the number of people seeking relief had declined and the workhouse closed in 1918. It later became the site of the Route Hospital.[17]

In the decades following the famine, the issue of tenant right challenged large landowners who as "loyalists" and "unionists" believed they might count on the popular vote. Inspired by the electoral successes of James MacKnight and Samuel MacCurdy Greer in neighboring County Londonderry,[18][19] in 1869 the Rev. James Armour and others in Ballymoney formed the Route Tenants Defence Association.[20] In 1874, the association organised a major North-South National Tenants Rights conference in Belfast which called for loans to facilitate tenant purchase of land and for breaking the landlord monopoly on local government.[18]

20th century

After the turn of the century there was local support for the Independent Orange Order, promoted by its first Imperial Grand Master, Lindsay Crawford (an admirer of the United Irishmen), as an expression of "progressive Protestantism".[21][22] In 1906, the IOO supported the election of Liberal, R. G. Glendinning due largely to his support for compulsory land purchase.[23]

By the time of the Home Rule Crisis of 1912-14, the land question had resolved largely in the tenants' favour, and official unionism reasserted itself. A meeting in Ballymoney Town Hall in October 1913 organised by Armour and with Sir Roger Casement, in his first public address, on the platform, disputed the claim of Edward Carson's Unionists to speak for northern Protestants. Local historian Alex Blair notes, "the meeting put Ballymoney into the press headlines across the United Kingdom. All the big London papers had a representative in the Town Hall and ‘The London Times’ carried an editorial as well as a report".[24] But while the dissident meeting had filled the hall, in November an anti-Home Rule meeting addressed by Carson's lieutenant Sir James Craig had the crowd spilling out of the hall into the surrounding streets.[24][25]

Broadly in line with its three-quarters Protestant majority, Ballymoney remained a Unionist town. From 1921 its Antrim, and later Bannside, constituencies returned Ulster Unionists to the Northern Ireland Parliament virtually unopposed. This ended only in February 1969, when standing as a Protestant Unionist, the Rev. Ian Paisley came within a few percentage points of unseating the Prime Minister of Northern Ireland, Captain Terence O'Neill.[26]

This was at the onset of the Northern Irish Troubles, in the course of which Ballymoney and its immediate surroundings witnessed 14 conflict-related deaths. Seven people were killed by various loyalist groups, four by the Irish Republican Army (IRA), and three by the British Army. The most notorious incident occurred at the height of the Drumcree protests, three months after the 1998 "Good Friday" Agreement under which both republican and loyalist paramilitaries committed to permanent ceasefires. The Ulster Volunteer Force petrol bombed a house in a predominantly Protestant area of the town killing three Catholic children, the Quinn brothers.[27]

The last major flax-spinning operation in the area, the Balnamore Mill, made its final shipment of linen (to Germany) and closed its doors in 1959.[28] The same year, saw the camera manufacturer K.G. Corfield moved from Wolverhampton to Ballymoney, becoming the only camera manufacturers on the island of Ireland. But this surprise addition to Ballymoney's shrinking indusrial base failed in the face of Japanese and German competition. It ceased production in 1971. A further blow to the local economy was delivered in 1988 by a fire that destroyed the Lovell and Christmas pig processing factory that had employed more than 400 people and processed about 40% of Northern Ireland’s pork.[29]

21st century

In the new century, Ballymoney recovered an ability to attract industrial investment. Leading examples included a 2015 €6.8 million expansion in the operations of McAuley Engineering,[30] and the announcement in June 2022 of a £9 million expansion of the metal fabricator facility of the U.S. machinery giant Terex.[31][32] At the same time, there has been substantial investment in schools and housing consistent with growth of population of the town and its immediate environs.[33][34] In the broader-than-the-town census area, this has risen from 26,865 in 2001 to 32,505 in 2020.[35]


Ballymoney district is part of the Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council. In 2014, the residents elected 3 Democratic Unionist Party, 2 Ulster Unionist Party, 1 Traditional Unionist Voice and 1 Sinn Féin councillors. It is within the North Antrim consituency which in 2019 returned Ian Paisly Jr, Democratic Unionist, to Westminster, and in 2022 returned to the Northern Ireland Assembly one Ulster Unionist, one Democratic Unionist, one Traditional Unionist Voice, one Sinn Féin and one Alliance member.


On Census day (27 March 2011) there were 10,402 people living in the town of Ballymoney (4,354 households),[5] an increase of 15.3% on the Census 2001 population of 9,021.[33] Of these:

Buildings of note

Ballymoney town clock and masonic hall
Ballymoney town clock and masonic hall

Ballymoney is one of the oldest towns in Ireland with many buildings of historic note in the town centre.[36]


Primary schools

Ballymoney Primary School, also known as Ballymoney Model,[40] is situated at the top of the North Road and holds approximately 360 pupils each year. The school is within the Northern Eastern Education Library Board area.
The school is one of the largest within Ballymoney, housing eleven classrooms running from P1 to P7. It also has a large dinner hall, assembly hall, and a computer room. The school has a library and a classroom for special needs children.
Historically, Ballymoney Primary has been a predominately protestant school, but was scheduled to be integrated in September 2009 following a very narrow vote in favour of the idea.
Ballymoney Primary's principal is Mr. G. McVeigh, while the vice principal is Mrs. Herron. And a new 2013 principal Mrs. Jamison
Garryduff primary school is for pupils aged 4–11, it is located on the Garryduff road approximately 3 miles out of Ballymoney it has got a new extension with a new multi-purpose hall and a new classroom. The current principal is Miss Tannahill.[41]
Landhead Primary School is a primary school for pupils aged 5 to 11 years, located on the Kilraughts Road, close to Ballymoney Rugby Club.[42]
In 2004 the Sunday Mirror reported on the school's cat "Tigger". The cat has since featured on local news and radio programmes.[43]
Leaney Primary School is located near Ballymoney High School, on Intermediate Road, approximately 1 mile from the town centre. The school for children aged 4 to 11, is a part of the Eco-Schools programme which aims to raise pupils awareness of sustainable development issues. The current principal is Miss V Moorhouse.[44]
Lislagan Primary School is located about three miles from Ballymoney, in a rural location.[45] It is a controlled school for girls and boys aged from 3 to 11. Enrollment has risen steadily over the last five years and currently stands at 94.[46] It is within the North Eastern Education and Library Board area.
St. Brigid's Primary School is located in Castle Street.[47]

Secondary schools



Association football clubs in the area include Ballymoney United F.C. and Glebe Rangers F.C.[citation needed]


Ballymoney railway station opened on 4 December 1855, and was closed to goods traffic on 4 January 1965.[48] The refurbished railway station was opened in May 1990. It was one terminus of the Ballycastle Railway, a narrow gauge railway which ran 17 miles connecting Ballycastle to Ballymoney, on the Belfast and Northern Counties Railway (BNCR), later Northern Counties Committee (NCC), main line to Derry, and closed in July 1950.[49]

Economy and media

Maine Soft Drinks Ltd is based in the area.

The Ballymoney Chronicle was established in 1844. It is the largest selling weekly newspaper in the North Coast and the second largest weekly newspaper in Northern Ireland.[50]


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Arts and Media



Town twinning

See also


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  2. ^ Placenames Database of Ireland
  3. ^ Place Names NI
  4. ^ "Ballymoney". IreAtlas Townlands Database. Retrieved 20 April 2015.
  5. ^ a b "Census 2011 Population Statistics for Ballymoney Settlement". Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA). Retrieved 7 August 2019.
  6. ^ Chartered Society of Physiotherapists (Microsoft Excel spreadsheet file). Archived 12 March 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "Ballymoney 'worst place in NI' for heart disease" BBC News
  8. ^ "Ballymoney Show". Ballymoney Show. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
  9. ^ Dill, Rev. A. H. (1898). A Short History of the Presbyterian Churches of Ballymoney, County Antrim. Bradford and London: Percy, Lund & Humphries . p. 7.
  10. ^ "Old Church Tower Ballymoney - Ballymoney". Travel Trade. Retrieved 23 August 2022.
  11. ^ Bardon, Jonathan (1992). A History of Ulster. Belfast: The Blackstaff Press. p. 122. ISBN 0856404764.
  12. ^ Young, Robert Magill (1893). Ulster in '98: Episodes and Reflecions. Belfast: Marcus Ward. p. 29.
  13. ^ a b Stewart, A.T.Q. (1995). The Summer Soldiers: The 1798 Rebellion in Antrim and Down. Belfast: The Blackstaff Press. pp. 140–141. ISBN 0856405582.
  14. ^ "The Uprising in North Antrim - Causeway Coast & Glens Borough Council". Retrieved 23 August 2022.
  15. ^ Lewis, Samuel (1837). A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland. London: S. Lewis. p. 150.
  16. ^ Centenary of the Opening of the Belfast and Ballymena Railway. The Railway Executive Northern Counties Committee. 1948. pp. 3 to 35.
  17. ^ "Ballymoney Workhouse - Causeway Coast & Glens Borough Council". Retrieved 24 August 2022.
  18. ^ a b Courtney, Roger (2013). Dissenting Voices: Rediscovering the Irish Progressive Presbyterian Tradition. Ulster Historical Foundation. pp. 156–160. ISBN 9781909556065.
  19. ^ Walker, Brian M., ed. (1978). Parliamentary Election Results in Ireland 1801–1922. A New History of Ireland. Dublin: Royal Irish Academy. pp. 296–7. ISBN 0901714127. ISSN 0332-0286.
  20. ^ "MacKnight (McKnight), James | Dictionary of Irish Biography". Archived from the original on 27 September 2021. Retrieved 27 March 2021.
  21. ^ Goldring, Maurice (1991). Belfast, From Loyalty to Rebellion. London: Lawrence and Wishart. pp. 103–104. ISBN 0853157286.
  22. ^ Boyle, J. W. (1962–1963). "The Belfast Protestant Association and Independent Orange Order". Irish Historical Studies. 13: 117–152. doi:10.1017/S0021121400008518.
  23. ^ Bardon, Jonathan (1992). A History of Ulster. Belfast: The Blackstaff Press. pp. 440–441. ISBN 0856404764.
  24. ^ a b "'A Protestant Protest' Pamphlet - Causeway Coast & Glens Borough Council". Retrieved 23 August 2022.
  25. ^ Maxwell, Nick (4 November 2013). "The Ballymoney meeting, 24 October 1913". History Ireland. Retrieved 23 August 2022.
  26. ^ Bruce, Steve (2007). Paisley: Religion and Politics in Northern Ireland. OUP Oxford. p. 94. ISBN 978-0-19-928102-2.
  27. ^ McKittrick, D, Kelters, S, Feeney, B and Thornton, C. Lost Lives. Mainstream Publishing, Edinburgh, 1999, pp. 1434 to 1436. ISBN 1-84018-227-X
  28. ^ "The Balnamore Mill Horn – NI Archive". Retrieved 24 August 2022.
  29. ^ Honeyford, Joanne (2021). NI100: Reflections on the Causeway Coast and Glens (PDF). Ballymoney: Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council Museum Services. pp. 83, 85. ISBN 9781916149472.
  30. ^ "McAuley announces €6.8m investment and 87 new jobs in Ballymoney". Engineers Ireland. 13 October 2015. Retrieved 24 August 2022.
  31. ^ "Terex hoped work on Ballymoney expansion can begin soon". 10 June 2022. Retrieved 24 August 2022.
  32. ^ McAleer, Ryan (7 June 2022). "Terex to invest £9 million in Ballymoney factory expansion". The Irish News. Retrieved 24 August 2022.
  33. ^ a b "Census 2001 Usually Resident Population: KS01 (Settlements) - Table view". Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA). p. 1. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
  34. ^ "Ballymoney, United Kingdom — statistics 2022". Retrieved 24 August 2022.
  35. ^ "Northern Ireland Population 2021/2022". Retrieved 24 August 2022.
  36. ^ "Work ethic brings long life in Co Antrim's Tír na nÓg", Irish News, 13 August 2008
  37. ^ "A stunning stroll here is bang on the money". Belfast Telegraph. 5 October 2009. Retrieved 5 November 2021.
  38. ^ "Ballymoney". Provincial Grand Lodge of Antrim. Retrieved 5 November 2021.
  39. ^ "Ballymoney Town Hall". Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council. Retrieved 5 November 2021.
  40. ^ "Ballymoney Model Integrated Primary School". Retrieved 21 May 2020.
  41. ^ "Garryduff Primary School". Retrieved 21 May 2020.
  42. ^ "Landhead Primary School". Retrieved 21 May 2020.
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  47. ^ "St. Brigid's". St. Brigid's Primary School. Retrieved 21 May 2020.
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