County Armagh.

"The Camelot of Ulster."

Businesses in county Armagh.

Holidays in county Armagh.

Read about the town of Keady.

Armagh from Samuel Lewis' Topographical Directory of Ireland 1837

Armagh is the smallest of the six counties of Northern Ireland. It extends from the shore of Lough Neagh in the north to the border with the Republic of Ireland in the south and west. It is bounded by County Tyrone to the west and County Down to the east. Since the reorganization of local government in 1973, much of the county has formed the district of Armagh. Other parts have been included in the districts of Dungannon, Banbridge, and Newry and Mourne.

Armagh is one of the richest agricultural areas of Ireland, and was formerly one of the most densely populated. This is explained partly by its fertility, and partly by the intensive farming methods introduced in the 1600's. Mixed fruit cultivation is a major industry, the county is often referred to as the Orchard County of Ireland.

Read about farming practices in County Armagh from Samuel Lewis' Topographical Directory of Ireland published in 1837.

The chief industry was formerly the manufacture linen which from humble beginnings in the late 17th century when flax was grown and the fibres spun and woven into cloth in many little farmsteads dotted around the country. Eventually the spinning wheels and hand looms gave way to spinning jennies and power looms, driven initially by water power which in later years was augmented by steam. With the industrial of the industry production became more centralised locating in areas where there were abundant supplies of water to power the new machines, Bessbrook and Darkley in South Armagh were prominent in the industry up to the mid years of the last century.

Lurgan and Portadown are industrial towns that owe their importance largely to the linen industry, which is now in decline. Keady, Markethill, Newtownhamilton, and Crossmaglen are small market towns with some light industry. Richhill and Loughgall are market Centre's for apples and strawberries. Armagh, the former county town, is now the administrative seat of the district. It manufactures textiles, chemicals, optical equipment, and processed foods.

In the mid 70's an experiment was embarked upon to build a new city Craigavon based on the towns of Lurgan and Portadown. Thousands of acres were compulsorily purchased. New road systems and housing estates were built and cash incentive schemes were introduced to encourage people to settle in the area, this was only partly successful as a lot of people came collected their cash and left and in many cases leaving the new houses devoid of their plumbing and fittings. The Goodyear tire and rubber company built a large factory which was in operation for several years It is said that when its incentive schemes expired they too found it more expedient to move on.

Read about County Armagh from Lewis' Topographical Survey of Ireland 1837.

Armagh got its name which means (Macha's Height) after Queen Macha, a legendary warrior queen with golden hair said to have reigned from 658 BC until her death seven years later. Her palace was a few miles to to the west at Navan Fort which is also called Eamhain Macha.

In the 5th century St Patrick built the first of his two churches in Armagh at a place he called 'my sweet hill' It grew to be the ecclesiastical Capital of Ireland

The orchard county of Ireland, apples were once a very large industry, there still are extensive orchards, but their financial contribution to the economy is not as great as it once was. Many of the 17th-century settlers here came from Worcestershire and laid out the orchards on the same pattern as those in the Vale of Evesham.
You can take a bus tours of Armagh at apple blossom time.(Usually about mid May.)

You will find images of County Armagh on this page.

Read about Loughnashade near Navan Fort, said to contain royal jewels guarded by a Chinese dragon.



Google Map of County Armagh.