; meaning Rough field
) is a town
in County Londonderry
, Northern Ireland
, 18 kilometres (11 miles) south of Coleraine
on the A29 route, the main trunk road between Coleraine and Maghera
. It is situated on the banks of the Agivey River
. In the 2001 Census
it had a population of 1,288 people. It is within the Coleraine Borough Council
area. Garvagh is a significant service centre for the surrounding countryside, providing a wide range of services and considerable employment.
Garvagh was important from very early times, but was destroyed by fire during the Battle of Garvagh
, and rebuilt as a Plantation
town as its broad main street and neatly planned buildings evidence. It was founded in the early 17th century by George Canning from Warwickshire
, agent for the Ironmonger’s Company of London
, it was subsequently developed into a modest size market town by the Cannings. A striking feature of the town is the stone clock tower with an attractive clock and castellations which dominate the main route through the town and also which serves as the district cenotaph immortalising the dead of the two World Wars (1914-1918 and 1939-1945).
During the Troubles five people were killed in or near Garvagh, all of them by the Provisional Irish Republican Army.
The Garvagh and District Development Association- GADDA undertook a project to modernise the town in the late 1990s and early 2000s by installing new water mains, upgrading road surfaces, improving pedestrian surfaces, new street lighting, a new community building and a new toilet block, which were funded through various support channels: the Coleraine Borough Council, The Ireland Fund of America, the EU and the British Government.
The town has been immortalised in the famous Protestant folk-song "The Battle of Garvagh", which tells the tale of the town's defence in 1813 from the marauding Ribbonmen who were intent on burning the town.
Places of interest
- Garvagh Museum is a rural Folk Museum situated in the Bann Valley, in the walled garden of Garvagh House, the former seat of the Canning family. George Canning was elevated to the peerage in 1818 and took the title, Baron Garvagh. This walled garden has historic connections with Denis Hempson the great blind harper who lived in 3 centuries, being born in 1695 and dying in 1807. George Canning, Dr Bacon and Squire Gage purchased Hempson's first harp while he was resident in Garvagh. At the entrance to the museum there is a memorial to Hempson in the form of a granite pillar. This unique collection comprises almost two thousand artefacts which trace the history of the Bann Valley from 3000 BC through to the first half of the 20th century.
- Garvagh Forest, the former estate of the Cannings, covering over 2 square kilometres (0.7 sq mi), is situated on the western outskirts of Garvagh.
Garvagh is classified as a village by the NI Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA)
(ie with a population between 1,000 and 2,250 people). On Census day (29 April 2001
) there were 1,288 people living in Garvagh. Of these:
- 22.3% were aged under 16 years and 25.1% were aged 60 and over
- 46.7% of the population were male and 53.3% were female
- 25.0% were from a Catholic background and 74.0% were from a Protestant background
- 3.6% of people aged 16-74 were unemployed
For more details see: NI Neighbourhood Information Service
Garvagh railway station opened on 18 February 1880
and finally closed on 28 August 1950
- George Canning Sr. was born in Garvagh - he was the father of George Canning (1770-1827) Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
- Jim Watt former Mayor and Footballer.
- Sammy Watt former footballer.
- Uel Linton former irish league player and youth international.
- MLA Adrian McQuillin resides just outside the town.
- Matthew McGraw Footballer and Youth International.
- Kieran McGilligan Country singer