Dromore, County Down

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County Down
Dromore town centre from Mound.jpg
Dromore town centre from the Mound
Grid reference: J201533
Location: 54°24’54"N, 6°8’56"W
Population: 4,968  (2001)
Post town: Dromore
Postcode: BT25
Dialling code: 028, +44 28
Local Government
Council: Armagh, Banbridge
and Craigavon
Lagan Valley

Dromore is a small market town in County Down, on the A1 BelfastDublin road. The 2001 census recorded a population of 4,968 people.

The town's centre is Market Square, which has a rare set of stocks. It is in the linen manufacturing district. Dromore has the remains of a castle and earthworks, although both have modern buildings surrounding them, and a large motte and bailey or encampment known as the Priest's Mount (known locally as "the Mound"), on the Maypole Hill.


The name Dromore, historically Drumore, Drummore and Drummor, is derived form the Gaelic Druim Mór meaning "large ridge".[1]

The town has a well preserved Norman motte and bailey that was constructed by John de Courcy in the early 13th century, shortly after the Norman invasion of Ireland.[2] Known locally as 'the Mound', the fort occupies a prominent site to the east of the town centre and has views along the valley of the River Lagan. Dromore remained under Anglo-Norman control until it was captured and destroyed by Edward Bruce during the Irish-Bruce wars of 1315.

Cathedral Church of Christ the Redeemer

Dromore has been the seat of a bishopric for centuries, which grew out of an abbey of Canons Regular attributed to St Colman in the 6th century. The Diocese of Dromore was combined with neighbours in 1842 to create the Diocese of Down, Connor and Dromore, until the Diocese of Connor (County Antrim) was split off again in 1944, leaving the Diocese of Down and Dromore remaining united. The Cathedral Church of Christ the Redeemer in Dromore remains one of the Diocese's three cathedrals.

The town and cathedral were wholly destroyed during the rebellion of 1641, and the present church was built by Bishop Jeremy Taylor in 1661, who is buried there. Also buried in the cathedral is Thomas Percy, another famous bishop of the diocese, who laid out the fine grounds of the palace. A monument to Thomas Percy stands in the Town Park.[3]

Jacobites under command of Richard Hamilton, and rival Williamites fought a battle here on the 14 March 1689. The battle took place about a mile out of the town on the Milebush Road and was known as the Break of Dromore. The Jacobites routed the Williamites and they fled in disorder, but with few casualties. After this Break of Dromore the Jacobites did not meet any resistance while advancing northwards and occupying Belfast.

Dromore had its own railway station from 1863 to 1956. The Banbridge, Lisburn and Belfast Junction Railway (BLB) through Dromore opened in 1863.[4] Its line was a branch that joined the Ulster Railway main line Knockmore Junction, giving Dromore a direct link to Lisburn and Belfast Great Victoria Street.[4] In 1876 the Ulster Railway became part of the new Great Northern Railway, which took over the BLB company in 1877.[5] In 1953 the railway was nationalised as the GNR Board,[6] which closed the line through Dromore on 29 April 1956.[7]


Market Square and the Town Hall (centre)

The Dromore Town Centre Development Plan, published in July 2003, outlined that of the 190 units within Dromore Town Centre, over one quarter were vacant. This is in spite of recent population growth in the town; a result of the proximity to the A1 and resultant commuting access to Belfast.

The green-field development in recent years has mostly been around the edges of the town, and the doughnut effect has led to these houses being disconnected from the town centre. The population of Dromore tends to travel to nearby Banbridge or Sprucefield to shop, which has caused the high levels of obvious dereliction.

The plan highlights the under use of the River Lagan as a resource in the town, as well as the poorly used public space around the Town Hall in the Market Square. The square's 18th Century layout is protected, however it is identified as a traffic problem, which is exacerbated by poor parking provision and enforcement of parking restrictions. In 2008, the area surrounding the Town Hall was cleared in order to facilitate the construction of leisure space. The project was completed in six months and now has benches and pathways in place of a small car park. The general aesthetics of the site have also been improved.


Dromore sprang up within the townland of the same name. The following is a list of townlands that are now within the town's urban area, alongside their likely etymologies:[8]

Balleny, historically Ballyeany (Baile Uí Éinigh: "O'Heaney's townland")
Ballymacormick (Baile Mhic Cormaic: "MacCormick's townland")
historically Ballymagarly
(Baile Mhig Amhalaidh: "MacAwley's townland")
Ballyvicknacally (Baile Mhic na Caillí: "townland of the hag's son")
historically Drumbrony, Drumfrony
(Druim Bróncha/Bhrónaí: "Brónach's ridge")
Lurganbane (Lorgain Bhán: "long white ridge")


Despite the town's small population, Dromore has a multitude of sport teams and venues.

  • Football:
    • Dromore Amateurs FC
    • Dromore Amateurs Youth Football Club
  • Ladies' hockey: Dromore Ladies Hockey Club
  • Rugby: Dromore Rugby Football Club

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Dromore, County Down)