Crossgar (in Irish: An Chrois Ghearr, ie the short cross) is a small town in County Down, Northern Ireland, approximately 15 miles south of Belfast in Northern Ireland on the main A7 road between Saintfield and Downpatrick. It is about 5 miles south of Saintfield and in the 19th century was a small hamlet. Crossgar has undergone many developments in the past few years because of its position as a commuter village. It has a good selection of pubs and restaurants and also boasts a poor nine-hole golf course. It had a population of 1,539 people in the 2001 Census.
The name Crossgar comes from the Irish An Chrois Ghearr meaning "the short cross". There is a holy well known as St. Mary’s Well (Tobar Mhuire) which suggests that in this case 'crois' (cross) is likely to refer to an ecclesiastical cross, no trace of which now remains. The adjective 'gearr' (short) may suggest that the cross was damaged or in some way defective. The parish of Kilmore comes from the Irish Cill Mhór meaning "big church" or another possible meaning is "An Choill Mhór" meaning "the big wood", which suggests that the area was covered by a large forest. Another location of one of the seven chapels is the townland of Killinchy (Cill Duinsí) meaning "Duinseach's Church".
The manor house, known as Crossgar House, was put up for sale by its last owner, Colonel Llewwllen Palmer, in later 1949. Around this time also the Passionists had been looking for a suitable site in which to refound their Juniorate, a second level school for boys interested in Passionist Religious life and Priesthood. The Juniorate up to this period was in Wheatfield, North Belfast. Tobar Mhuire met the necessary requirements and was purchased by the Passionists in 1950. So Tobar Mhuire then returned to its ancient roots and Mass was next celebrated there on 15 September 1950. The Passionists took up residence on the last Sunday in November 1950. The Juniorate flourished for nearly thirty years. Many young people were educated at Tobar Mhuire and in its 'hay-day' over fifty young students lived here with a staff of about eight. In the final years, before the Juniorate was closed in 1980, the students attended St. Patrick's High School in Downpatrick, run by the De La Salle Brothers.
In 1976 Tobar Mhuire became a Noviciate, a place where people are encouraged to deepen their vocation to religious life. The Passionist vocation, to help others become more aware of the great love God has for them as shown on the cross, motivated developing the Old Juniorate into a Retreat and Prayer Centre in 1982. The community continues its work through various Faith development programmes run both at Tobar Mhuire and elsewhere on request.
The village is served by Ulsterbus route 15 and 215 Downpatrick to Belfast.
For more details see: NI Neighbourhood Information Service
The James Martin Memorial Stone is located in The Square in Crossgar and is maintained by Down District Council. Sir James Martin, who hailed from Raffrey, was born on 11 September 1893, and died on 5 January 1981, was awarded for services to Engineering an OBE in 1950 and a CBE in 1957. He is famous as the inventor of the Ejector seat for aircraft. He was also co-founder of the Martin-Baker Aircraft Company. A three foot high stone has been erected in his memory.
Ryan Stranney is a prominent member of the local gay community, he along with Conall Bell, Niall McCarthy, Ciaran Denvir and Jonathan Bell have been battling for gay rights for many years in the Northern Ireland area.