Infobox UK place
official_name= Banbridge
Irish_name= Droichead na Banna
Ulster-Scots_name= Banbrig

static_image_caption= The Cut in Banbridge
map_type= Northern Ireland
latitude= 54.343
longitude= -6.26
population= 14,744 (2001 Census)
unitary_northern_ireland= Banbridge District
country= Northern Ireland
post_town= BANBRIDGE
postcode_area= BT
postcode_district= BT32
dial_code= 028
constituency_westminster= Upper Bann
lieutenancy_northern_ireland= County Down

Banbridge (derive|Irish|Droichead na Banna|the Bridge on the Ban (river)) is a rapidly growing town in County Down, Northern Ireland. It lies on the River Bann and the A1 road. It grew as a coaching stop and from Irish linen manufacturing. Its population was 14,744 people in the 2001 Census though is said to have raised in population by a fith since then, [] suggesting a population of around 18,000. [14,744 x 1.2 = 17692.] The town is the headquarters for Banbridge District Council. The town was named after the first bridge built over the Upper Bann in 1712.

The main street is very unusual, and rises to a steep hill. Banbridge used to be an important stop on the Belfast to Dublin stagecoach route and the town's best known feature is the underpass constructed in 1834 by William Dargan known colloquially as "The Cut". The official name is 'Downshire Bridge'. It is thought that this was the first underpass ever built. Its construction was due to pressure from the Post Office, which was concerned that its horses could not pass through the centre of the town without fainting before they reached the top of the hill.

Nearby towns and villages include: Rathfriland, Corbet, Annaclone, Magherally, Seapatrick, Donaghcloney, Blackskull, Lawrencetown, Loughbrickland, Dromore, Scarva and Gilford.


Banbridge, home to the Star of the County Down, is, relatively speaking, quite a young town. The town grew up around the site where the main road from Belfast to Dublin crossed the River Bann over an Old Bridge which was situated where the present bridge now stands. The town owed its success to flax and the linen industry, becoming by 1772 the principal linen producing district in Ireland with a total of 26 bleachgreens along the Bann. This industry has now greatly diminished in prominence, but Banbridge still has two of the major producers in [ Ulster Weavers Ltd] , and [ Thomas Ferguson & Co Ltd.] , the last remaining Irish linen damask weaver. Recently Banbridge has been twinned with Ruelle in France.


Banbridge is classified as a Medium Town by the [ NI Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA)] (ie with population between 10,000 and 18,000 people). On Census day (29 April 2001) there were 14,744 people living in Banbridge. Of these:
*24.4% were aged under 16 years and 16.1% were aged 60 and over
*49.5% of the population were male and 50.5% were female
*33.7% were from a Catholic background and 63.7% were from a Protestant background
*3.3% of people aged 16-74 were unemployed.

For more details see: [ NI Neighbourhood Information Service]

Places of interest

* Near the town lie the ancient Lisnagade Fort, Legannany Dolmen, and the Loughbrickland Crannog, constructed around the year 500 AD
* Banbridge Market House was built about 1832 currently used as offices.


Since 2004, Banbridge has staged an annual [ BuskFest] busking competition and music festival. Performers have travelled from as far as Australia to participate in the competition and the evening concert has presented artists including Juliet Turner, Bap Kennedy and The Proclaimers. BuskFest 2007 was headlined by The Undertones and Buskfest 2008 was headlined by Hothouse Flowers


*Banbridge is on the A1 main road between Belfast and Newry.
*The nearest railway station is Scarva, about eight kilometres (five miles) from Banbridge. Banbridge was linked to the main Belfast-Dublin railway by a branch line from Scarva that opened on 23 March 1859. A more direct link to Belfast opened on 13 July 1863 via Lisburn. A branch line from Banbridge to Ballyroney opened in 1880 and was extended to the coastal resort of Newcastle in 1906. The lines to Scarva and Newcastle and the line to Lisburn were all closed on 30 April 1956. [cite web | title=Banbridge station | work=Railscot - Irish Railways | url= | accessdate=2007-09-11]


* Professor Ernest Walton, winner of the 1951 Nobel Prize for Physics (along with Sir John Douglas Cockcroft) attended school in Banbridge.
*Captain Francis Crozier, British naval officer and Arctic explorer, was born in Banbridge in 1796. A monument to him stands in the town square; four polar bears are carved on the base.
*F. E. McWilliam, surrealist sculptor
* [ Joseph Scriven] who wrote the hymn "What a Friend We Have In Jesus."
*John Mitchel, Irish nationalist activist and political journalist
* [ Helen Waddell] , scholar and writer
* [ Howard Ferguson] , composer
* [ Captain Thomas Mayne Reid] , writer
*John Butler Yeats, artist and father of four artistic children. Among them were William Butler Yeats and Jack Butler Yeats.
*Simon & Rory Best, international rugby players for Ireland and Ulster grew up in Banbridge
*Margaret Barry "Maggie",Irish singer and banjo player, [ spent the last decade of her life in Banbridge.]



*Abercorn Primary School
*Ballydown Primary School
*Bridge Primary School
*Bronte Primary School
*Edenderry Primary School
*Milltown Primary School
*St. Marys Primary School


*Banbridge Academy (mixed grammar)
*Banbridge High School
*St Patrick's College


*One of the Banbridge sporting highlights probably was the 1920 - Ireland v. Scotland International Hockey Match played at Banbridge.
*The Banbridge Hockey Club wins in 1985 as the second team from Ireland, after Cookstown HC in 1981, the EuroHockey Club Champions Trophy.

Current sports clubs include:
*Banbridge Town F.C.
*Banbridge Hockey Club
* [ Banbridge Rugby Football Club]
* [ Banbridge Ladies Hockey Club]
* [ Banbridge Cycling Club]
* [ Banbridge Golf Club]
* [ Banbridge Rangers Football Club]
* [ Clann na Banna G.A.A Club]


The Star of the County Down is a well known song associated with Banbridge. []

Pop culture

*in the film The Day After Tomorrow a fictitious Sky News broadcast shows a depiction of Banbridge in the midst of its apocalyptic blizzard with the reporter stating that citizens of Belfast are being evacuated to Banbridge. Sharp eyed viewers of the film will notice that the caption that appears on the television incorrectly spells the name of the town as Bambridge. No filming actually took place in the town.


* [ Culture Northern Ireland]

ee also

*List of towns in Northern Ireland
*List of villages in Northern Ireland
*Market Houses in Northern Ireland

External links

* [ Banbridge District Council]
* [ Banbridge Historical Information]
* [ Banbridge Old Vehicle Club]
* [ Banbridge Rotary Club]
* [ "The Cut", Banbridge]
* [ Ferguson's Irish Linen]
* [ Banbridge Leader Newspaper Website]
* [ 1st Banbridge NISC]
* [ BuskFest]
* []

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