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Ballynahinch, County Down facts for kids

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Ballynahinch Market House - geograph.jpg
The Market House (middle) and Credit Union (left)
Population 5,364 (2001 Census)
  • Newry, Mourne and Down
Country Northern Ireland
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district BT24
Dialling code 028
Police Northern Ireland
Fire Northern Ireland
Ambulance Northern Ireland
EU Parliament Northern Ireland
UK Parliament
  • Strangford
NI Assembly
  • Strangford
List of places
Northern Ireland
DownCoordinates: 54°23′42″N 5°53′10″W / 54.395°N 5.886°W / 54.395; -5.886

Ballynahinch (from Irish: Baile na hInse, meaning "town of the island") is a town in County Down, Northern Ireland. It had a population of 5,364 people in the 2001 Census.

Ballynahinch was traditionally a market town, although the market still takes place in the square every Thursday. The town lies on the main A24 Belfast to Newcastle road 15 miles (24 km) south of Belfast. Facilities in the town include a leisure centre. In recent years a regeneration committee has been formed for the development of the town and the surrounding Spa and Drumaness areas.


Until the 17th century, the area was controlled by the McCartan clan. Around the mid-1600s, Patrick McCartan sold lands around Ballynahinch to Sir George Rawdon, agent to Viscount Conway, and Sir William Petty, a surveyor from Hampshire. Before his death in 1687, Petty leased his interest in the land leaving Sir George in sole possession. He built two corn mills and founded the town with a market square. In 1683 Charles II of England granted the town a patent to hold a Thursday market and two fairs every 1 February and 29 June. Settlers from lowland Scotland increased the population and Ballynahinch grew as a market town with the sale of livestock, corn, potatoes and increasingly, flax was being cultivated. Sir John Rawdon, descendant of Sir George and now the Earl of Moira took up residence in Montalto house in Ballynahinch. He made significant improvements to the estate and to the town by promoting the linen market and causing the market house to be built. By the end of the eighteenth century sales in the market were grossing around £300 per week and the town was prospering. Unfortunately it was about to suffer a setback.

The Society of United Irishmen launched a rebellion in 1798. It began in Leinster and quickly spread to Ulster. The United Irishmen had been founded in 1791 by liberal Protestants in Belfast. Its goal was to unite Catholics and Protestants and make Ireland an independent republic. Although its membership was mainly Catholic, many of its leaders and members in northeast Ulster were Protestant. The Battle of Ballynahinch began on 12 June 1798, when about 4000 United Irishmen camped at Ballynahinch were besieged by the British Army. The British bombarded the town with cannon for a full day until the United Irishmen retreated. Following this, the British burnt sixty-three houses in Ballynahinch and its hinterland. The commander of the United Irishmen, Henry Munro, was betrayed, captured and executed shortly after.

Montalto and Ballynahinch was sold in 1802 to David Ker Esq. who took advantage of the rising fashion for 'taking the waters' amongst tourists with money and developed the medicinal spa wells just over two miles outside the town. The village continued to expand thereafter.

In mid-1920, the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) barracks at Ballynahinch was subject to a bomb attack by the Irish Republican Army (IRA).

Then British Prime Minister John Major visited Ballynahinch in December 1996.

Ballynahinch is the site of Montalto Estate, Montalto House and The Carriage Rooms. The latter of which was the setting for Disney's The Lodge.

Ballynahinch Market House
The Market House
Ballynahinch Credit Union
The Credit Union
Ballynahinch Free Presbyterian Church, November 2010 (03)
Ballynahinch Free Presbyterian Church


Ballynahinch is classified as a Small Town by the NI Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) (i.e. with population between 4,500 and 10,000). On Census day (29 April 2001) there were 5,364 people living in Ballynahinch. Of these:

  • 22.4% were aged under 16 years and 17.0% were aged 60 and over,
  • 48.3% of the population were male and 51.7% were female,
  • 31.3% were from a Catholic background and 65.4% were from a Protestant background,
  • 3.7% of people aged 16–74 were unemployed.

For more details see: NI Neighbourhood Information Service

Buildings of note

  • The town's market house was built in 1795 and is currently used as a community centre
  • An old flax mill and corn mill stand on the outskirts of the town.


Traffic congestion

The town is well known for its heavy congestion. A bypass is proposed for the town. Geological surveys were conducted over twenty years ago to determine the route of the bypass but money has never been allocated by the Department of the Environment. In the 1990s various traffic control measures were introduced including the present one way system, however all have failed to cope with the sheer volume of traffic which passes through the town daily, particularly evenings.

In January 2012 The Minister for Regional Development made the following announcement:

"Roads Service approved the stage 2 preferred options report for the scheme, including the recommendation for a preferred line for the A24 Ballynahinch bypass scheme around the eastern outskirts and adjacent to the development limit of the town. That line will run from the junction of the A24 Belfast Road and the A21 Saintfield Road, which is north of the town, to the junction of the A24 Drumaness Road and the B2 Downpatrick Road, which is south of the town, at a distance of approximately 3.1 km. The scheme will involve substantial earthworks to traverse the drumlin topography and ground conditions along the route, which includes the flood plain of the Ballynahinch River. Three substantial structures will be required where the route crosses Moss Road, Crossgar Road and the Ballynahinch river."

There will also be a junction with the B7 Crossgar Road.

However this just shows the advanced nature of the planning rather than imminent construction; The official position is still that construction will take place between 2014 and 2019.


  • Ballynahinch railway station and Ballynahinch Junction railway station on the Belfast and County Down Railway, both opened on 10 September 1858, and both finally closed on 16 January 1950.


  • Edengrove Presbyterian Church, Dromore Road. Original church built in 1774, present church built in 1841.


Ballynahinch holds a loyalist flute band called 'Ballynahinch Protestant Boys' (BPB) which march at different locations across Northern Ireland.

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