(Lios na gCearrbhach; meaning fort of the gamblers
) is a predominantly unionist
city in Northern Ireland
, south-west of and adjoining Belfast
. An Anglicised
version of the Irish name, Lisnagarvey, is used in the title of schools and sporting clubs in the area. Formerly a borough, it was given city status
in 2002 (along with Newry
) as part of Queen Elizabeth II
's Golden Jubilee
celebrations. The city is split between County Antrim
and County Down
, the River Lagan
forming the county boundary. Lisburn had a population of 71,465 people in the 2001 Census
. Although it has city status, the area covered consists of the town of Lisburn, surrounded by an extensive rural and semi-rural hinterland. The council area
The administrative headquarters are in the town of Lisburn.
Lisburn is also known as the birthplace of Ireland's linen industry, which was established in 1698 by Louis Crommelin and other Huguenots. An exhibition about the Irish linen industry is now housed in the Irish Linen Centre, which can be found in the town’s old Market House in Market Square.
The city is a popular shopping centre, with a wide range of retail outlets both in the Lisburn town centre and in the out-of-town Sprucefield and Sprucefield Park centres. Also in the town centre is the Irish linen centre and Lisburn Museum, which is free to enter and contains displays about the history of the linen industry (which was a key industry in the history of Ulster).
Lisburn is one of the four constituent cities that makes up the Dublin-Belfast corridor region which has a population of just under 3 million.
Lisburn is home to many important political, civil and military bodies with associated infrastructure. Including Thiepval Barracks
, the headquarters of the British Army
in Northern Ireland and the headquarters of the Northern Ireland Fire Brigade
are also located in the town. In elections for the Westminster Parliament
the city falls mainly into the Lagan Valley constituency
but partly into West Belfast
Lisburn was originally known as Lisnagarvey (an Anglicisation of Lios na gCearrbhach).
Negotiations preceding the American War of Independence between Ben Franklin and Lord Hillsborough took place at Hillsborough.
Lisburn's original site was located on what is now known as Hill Street Estate, on a hill above the River Lagan. There was also a fort located at the north side of what is now known as Wallace Park. In 1611 James I granted Sir Fulke Conway the lands of Killultagh in south west County Antrim. During the 1620s the original streets of Lisburn as we know it today were laid out, Market Square, Bridge Street, Castle Street and Bow Street. Sir Fulke Conway brought over many English and Welsh settlers during the Ulster Plantation. He built a manor house on what is now Castle Gardens and in 1623 he built a church on the site of the current cathedral. The Manor House was destroyed in the accidental fire of 1707 and was never rebuilt, a plaque in the Linen Museum marks the inferno. After the fire, Lisnagarvey was renamed Lisburn.
Lisburn is one of the constituent cities that makes up the Dublin-Belfast corridor region which has a population of just under 3 million.
For more information see The Troubles in Lisburn
, which includes a list of incidents in Lisburn during the Troubles
resulting in two or more fatalities.
The Cold War
Between 1954 and 1992 Lisburn contained the operational headquarters of No 31 Belfast Group Royal Observer Corps
who operated from a protected nuclear bunker on Knox Road within Thiepval Barracks. Converted from a 1940s Anti-aircraft Operations Room (AAOR) the bunker would support over one hundred ROC volunteers and a ten man United Kingdom Warning and Monitoring Organisation
warning team responsible for the famous Four-minute warning
in the event of a nuclear strike on the UK. The ROC would also have detected radioactive fallout from the nuclear bursts and warned the public of approaching fallout.
The two organisations were stood down in 1992 at the end of the Cold War. In 2007 a commemorative plaque was mounted on the wall of the nuclear bunker which still stands, marking the volunteer service of ROC volunteers all over the Province. The well known BBC newsreader, TV personality and steam railway enthusiast Sullivan Boomer was an Observer Commander in the ROC and served as Group Commandant of the Belfast group during the 1970s and 1980s.
Sir Richard Wallace
made quite an impact on Lisburn. His bequests include the Wallace Park
and Wallace High School
. In 1872 he donated drinking fountains, known as Wallace fountains
, two of which can still be seen near the cricket pitch in Wallace Park, another in front of Lisburn Linen Museum in Bow Street and another in Castle Gardens. Wallace was created baronet
in 1871 and was Member of Parliament
from 1873 to 1885. Super-middleweight boxer Brian Magee is from Lisburn.
Lisburn Urban Area is within Belfast Metropolitan Urban Area (BMUA)and is classified as a Large Town by the NI Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA)
(ie with population between 18,000 and 75,000 people). On census
day (29 April, 2001) there were 71,465 people living in Lisburn. Of these:
- 25.4% were aged under 16 years and 15.6% were aged 60 and over.
- 52.1% were female and 47.9% were male.
- 54.2% were from a Protestant background and 41.7% were from a Catholic background.
- 4.0% of people aged 16-74 were unemployed.
Lisburn encompasses the Lagan Valley constituency, as well as a small portion of the West Belfast seat
- Central Primary School
- Tonagh Primary School
- Largymore Primary School
- St. Aloysius Primary School
- Killowen Primary School
- Ballymacash Primary School
- Brownlee Primary School
- Forthill Primary School
- Harmony Hill Primary School
- St. Joseph's Primary School
- St. Colman's Primary School
- Lisburn railway station was opened on 12 August 1839.
- The city is served by a variety of bus routes to Belfast city centre via the Lisburn Road (523/4/5) and also the Falls Road (530/1/2). There are also routes passing through the city heading for Banbridge/Newry (service 38) and Craigavon (service 51).
- The city has a vast network of local buses, serving the local housing developments and amenities.
- A new Bus Centre opened on 30 June 2008 at the corner of Smithfield Street and the Hillsborough Road. The new structure replaces the simple shelters at Smithfield Square, 200 yards to the east.
The local area code, like the rest of Northern Ireland
. However all local 8-digit subscriber numbers commence with 92xx-xxxx. Before the Big Number Change
in 2000, the STD code
for Lisburn and its surrounding area was 01846
The main hospital in the city is the Lagan Valley Hospital
, which provides Accident and Emergency services to the area. The hospital lost its acute services in 2006 and is set to lose maternity services in 2009. Residents now must travel to Belfast
for acute surgery. Primary care in the area is provided by the Lisburn Health Centre, which opened in 1977..
The city lies within the South Eastern Health and Social Care Board area, formerly known as Down and Lisburn Trust
- Lisburn Distillery is football club playing in the Irish Premier League. The club, founded in 1879, originated in West Belfast, where it was based at Distillery Street off Grosvenor Road until 1971. After sharing Skegoneill Avenue (Brantwood FC) and Seaview (Crusaders FC) for some years the club again moved in 1980 to New Grosvenor Stadium, Ballyskeagh, near Dunmurry on the outskirts of the city. The club was known as 'Distillery' until 1999, when it changed its name to 'Lisburn Distillery' in an attempt to associate itself more closely with its adopted borough of Lisburn. The club's colours are all white, and the current manager is Paul Kirk.
- Lisburn Basketball Club
- Lisburn Cricket Club
- Lisburn Racquets Club