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County Armagh
Grid reference: H887397
Location: 54°17’54"N, 6°38’24"W
Local Government
Council: Armagh, Banbridge
and Craigavon

Ballymacnab is a townland and village in County Armagh, four miles south of the City of Armagh, on the road towards Newtownhamilton.

The name of the village is from the Irish Baile Mhic An Aba.

About the village

The entrance to St Patrick's Church, Ballymacnab

Local buildings and amenities include St Patrick's Roman Catholic Church, Foley primary school, and Ballymacnab Hall.

The local pub, O'Toole's Bar, was originally used a house where priests could hide and is over 200 years old.[1] It was named Northern Ireland Pub of The Year in 2009.[2]

Seagahan Lake Reservoir is located to the east of the village, and includes the nearby dam and Seagahan Water Treatment Works. Angling is permitted at the reservoir, subject to certain restrictions.[3] In May 2008, Northern Ireland Water commenced a £6.6 million project to upgrade water treatment technology and infrastructure at the plant in order for it to comply with a new European directive on water quality.[4]

The closest settlements are Granemore to the west, Clady to the south, Corran to the south-west, Keady to the north-west, Armagh to the north and Mullaghbrac to the east.


The townland was previously part of lands confiscated from the native chieftains and granted to the Earl of Charlemont during the Plantation of Ulster.[5] The lands were worked by tenant farmers under the tithe and con-acre system.

The majority Roman Catholic population of Ballymacnab was reduced by emigration in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.[6][7] Many of the emigrants settled in Glasgow.[8][9]


In common with much of County Armagh, the area is referred to in local history and folklore. One famous story concerns the ‘Bull’s Track’. This is a landmark at the junction of the main Armagh/Newtownhamilton road and the Ballymacnab Road that leads to Seagahan Dam. A large stone marks the spot where it is claimed a large black bull landed after having been flung from neighbouring Armaghbreague Mountain by an angry St Patrick, after the same bull had knocked down the church he was building in Armaghbreague for the third consecutive night.

A mark which resembles the imprint of a Bull’s Foot remains to this day, and recent refurbishment work to the landmark has attempted to highlight the Bull’s Track as a tourist attraction.[10]


  • Gaelic sports: Ballymacnab Round Towers GAC.[11]
  • Saint Brenda's camogie club.[12]

Outside links


  1. "About O'Tooles Pub". Retrieved 2010-04-24. 
  2. "O'Tooles Pub of The Year 2009". Retrieved 2009-12-13. 
  3. "Seagahan Lake Reservoir". Retrieved 2008-10-27. 
  4. "May 2008". Retrieved 2008-10-27. 
  5. Connolly, S.J. (Ed); (2004). The Oxford Companion to Irish History
  6. Economic history of Ireland
  7. Guinnane, T.: 'The Vanishing Irish: Households, Migration, and the Rural Economy in Ireland' (Princeton University Press, 1997) ISBN 0-691-04307-8
  8. Burrowes, J.: 'Irish: The Remarkable Saga of a Nation and a City' (Mainstream Publishing, 2003) ISBN 1-84018-685-2
  9. Sloan, W. Cummings & Devine (Eds): 'Employment Opportunities and Migrant Group Assimilation: the Highlanders and Irish in Glasgow, 1840-1900' in Proc. Industry, Business & Society (1997)
  10. "The RuraLinks Project: Ballymacnab C D A". Retrieved 2008-10-27. 
  11. [ Ballymacnab GAA: history
  12. Ballymacnab Camogie