Armoy (in Irish: Oirthear Maí, meaning "the east of the plain") is a small village in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, 9 km south west of Ballycastle, adjacent to the A44 road between Ballymena and Ballycastle and 13 km north east of Ballymoney. In the 2001 Census it had a population of 414 people. In 1842 it had a population of 128 people and in 1899 it had 243 people. It is on the River Bush and lies within the Moyle District Council area. The village is situated between two of the nine Glens of Antrim, Glenshesk and Glentaisie. The Armoy area also contains half of the mountain of Knocklayd, which it shares with Ballycastle.
It is one of the larger villages in the Moyle area providing primary education, convenience shopping, and Post Office, as well as a range of community facilities. The village was dominated by public sector housing for many years, but in the late 1980s and early 1990s, a new housing development was built, followed by numerous new developments have been built throughout the village over the last decade.
The River Bush once flowed directly north to the sea at Ballycastle, however, after the last glacial event in Northern Ireland deposited the Armoy Moraine (on which the church and round tower sit) the river was deflected to the west and it now reaches the sea via Bushmills and Port Ballantrae.
Places of interest
- A picturesque Presbyterian Church sits on the edge of the village. The church’s striking spire, with a Viking ship weathervane on top, has been described as ’a miniature replica of the Eiffel Tower’.
- There are the remains of a round tower on the edge of the village. An early monastery was once founded about AD460 by Saint Olcan, a disciple of Saint Patrick. The only trace of an early monastery is the stump of the Round Tower which stands in the grounds of St. Patrick's Parish Church. The tower is about 11 m high and has three storeys. At a time, Armoy was the main religious settlement in the Irish part of the kingdom of Dál Riata.
The commercial and community life of the village has been greatly enhanced by a community regeneration project at the junction of Main Street and Drones Road. The Tilley Molloy Project, implemented under the International Fund for Ireland’s Community Regeneration and Improvement Special Programme (CRISP), was undertaken by Armoy Community Development Association and completed in 2000. This redevelopment of a key derelict site at the entrance to the village provided four shop units, four apartments, community care facilities and public toilets. The physical environment of the village has been further enhanced by a new Riverside Park developed by the District Council, and an environmental improvement scheme on Main Street carried out as part of the CRISP project.
Armoy railway station opened on 18 October 1880
, but finally closed on 3 July 1950
. It was on the Ballycastle Railway
, a narrow gauge railway
which ran for 17 miles connecting Ballycastle
, on the Belfast and Northern Counties Railway
(BNCR), later Northern Counties Committee
(NCC), main line to Derry
- John Armoy Knox, journalist, was born on August 10 1851 at Armoy, the son of Thomas and Jane McBride Knox. His father and his uncle owned the Armoy Flax and Grain Mills. He emigrated to the United States in 1871 and settled in Austin, Texas working as a journalist, before editing newspapers in New York and Atlanta. He was also a playwright and author. He died suddenly in New York on December 18 1906.
- Olcan(Cloot) McFetridge was a famous Antrim hurler. He received an all-star award in 1989 and recently won a Sports Council Merit and Sunday Life Award in August 2005. Conversations regarding him were heard as far away as Liverpool ("Look, see here, Bridie. Cloot McFetridge is the best hurler in Ireland").
- Joey Dunlop OBE was a resident of Armoy and was a member of The Armoy Armada. He was a world champion motorcylist
- Debbie McCook is one of Armoy's much loved daughters. However Debbie left Armoy in the pursuit of happiness to the Country's capitol, Belfast, following her yellow brick road in search of fame and fortune.