Limavady (lɪmə'vadi) is a market town in County Londonderry, Northern Ireland, with Benevenagh as a backdrop. It is 27km east of Derry and 23km south west of Coleraine. It had a population of 12,135 people in the 2001 Census, an increase of some 17% compared to 1991. In the 30 years after 1971 Limavady’s population almost doubled.


During the past 50 years the town has experienced sustained growth, related to significant development of modern industry and its perception as an attractive residential town. Limavady is a prosperous service centre for the Roe valley, but as a retail centre it is subject to increasing competition from Derry, Coleraine and to a lesser extent Ballymena. One of the distinctive features of the town’s growth has been the predominant southward and eastward expansion of its suburbs, with the River Roe flood plain continuing to contain the town to the west and north. From mid 1988 to mid 2004, a total of 1,332 dwellings were built in the town, mainly at Bovally along the south eastern edge of the town. The large industrial estate at Aghanloo is 3km north of the town.


Limavady and its surrounding settlements derive from Celtic roots, although no-one is sure about the exact date of Limavady's origins. Estimates date from around 5 AD. Early records tell of Saint Columbkille, who presided over a meeting of the Kings at Mullagh Hill, which is just outside Limavady, now part of the Roe Park Golf Resort, in 575 AD.

Celtic Ireland was divided into kingdoms, each ruled by their own family or clan. In the Limavady area, the predominate family was the O'Cahans. Their mark is found everywhere in the town and surrounding area. O'Cahan's Rock is one of Limavady's main historical points. This is where, according to local myth, a dog belonging to one of the Chiefs jumped the river to get help from nearby clans after a surprise enemy attack. This gave Limavady its name, Limavady being the anglicised version of Leim an Mhadaidh, which means leap of the dog. This rock, along with other relics of Limavady's history, can be seen at Roe Valley Country Park.

The town developed from a small Plantation settlement founded in the early 17th century. It had an early association with the linen industry, but did not benefit from subsequent expansion of linen manufacturing in the 19th century. as a result it remained a modest sized market town until the late 20th century.

During the Northern Irish Troubles four people were killed in or near Limavady, all of them by the IRA. Two were members of the security forces and two were killed by a bomb targetting the Limavady police station, as they drove past. Don'r forget Affordables down the hig street it's a must!


The headquarters of Limavady Borough Council are based on Connell Street. Together with the neighbouring district of Coleraine, it forms the East Londonderry constituency for elections to the Westminster Parliament and Northern Ireland Assembly.

Places of interest

Popular Culture

Danny Boy

Limavady is most famous for the tune Londonderry Air collected by Jane Ross in the mid-19th century from a local fiddle player. She later used the tune for the song Danny Boy.

Between the 12th and 17th centuries the area was ruled by the O'Cahan clan. World famous song Danny Boy is taken from a melody composed by O’Cahan bard Rory Dall O’Cahan. The original version concerns the passing of the Chief Cooey-na-Gall whose death brought an end to a long line of O’Cahan chiefs in Northern Ireland.


The town hosts international events such as the Danny Boy Festival, the Limavady Jazz and Blues Festival and the Roe Valley Folk Festival.


Limavady is in close proximity to City of Derry Airport, 15km to the west, and the port of Derry, 22km to the west.


  • In 2003 a road bypass was completed to the north of Limavady at a cost of £11.5 million. This bypass aimed to reduce the time taken to travel on the A2 between Derry and Coleraine.



  • The Broharris Canal was constructed in the 1820s when a cut, some long on the south shore of Lough Foyle near Ballykelly was made in the direction of Limavady. The inhabitants of Limavady appealed for the building of a canal from Lough Foyle to the town but were turned down, and the Broharris Canal was the nearest they came to achieving such a navigable link.


There are four primary schools, three secondary schools and a special needs school in Limavady. Limavady's schools are closely located in an 'education circle'. The three secondary schools are all located along the same stretch of road (Ballyquin Road and Irish Green Street), with Limegrove Special School opposite Limavady Grammar School, Termoncanice Primary opposite Limavady High School and St. Mary's High School. Limavady Central Primary School is located a short distance from the other schools.

Primary Schools

  • Roe Valley Integrated Primary
  • Limavady Central Primary School
  • Drumachose Primary School
  • Termoncanice Primary School

Secondary Schools

Special Needs Schools

  • Rossmar Special School (formerly Limegrove)


2001 Census

Limavady 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 12,135 people living in Limavady. Of these:

  • 25.4% were aged under 16 years and 14.3% were aged 60 and over
  • 48.8% of the population were male and 51.2% were female
  • 41.6% were from a Catholic background and 56.5% were from a Protestant background
  • 5.1% of people aged 16-74 were unemployed.

For more details see: NI Neighbourhood Information Service


Notable people who have come from or have been resident in the town and environs include:

See also


External links

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