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County Down
Crossgar, Shops in Downpatrick Street.jpg
Grid reference: J4552
Location: 54°23’53"N, 5°45’53"W
Population: 1,872  (2008 est.)
Post town: Downpatrick
Postcode: BT30
Dialling code: 028
Local Government
Council: Newry, Mourne and Down
South Down

Crossgar is a village and townland in County Down, found about 15 miles south of Belfast, between Saintfield and Downpatrick. Crossgar had a population of some 1,872 people according to a 2008 estimate.

The name "Crossgar" is from the Irish an Chrois Ghearr, meaning "The short cross".[1]

The parish of Kilmore comes from the Irish Cill Mhór meaning "big church" or another possible meaning is An Choill Mhór meaning "the big forest", 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".


Crossgar has had an interesting and varied past, from the settlement of Anglo-Norman invaders, to Scots settlers, to the St Patrick's Day riots in the 1800s. According to a history of the Roman Catholic diocese of Down and Connor, the parish of Kilmore, in which Crossgar lies, was likely to have been established around the year 800 and was the ecclesiastical centre of this part of County Down. It was thought that the area had seven chapels and these can be reasonably evident by the remains of burial grounds. But the seventh cannot be traced to a burial ground and is referred to as the "lost chapel of Cill Glaise". O'Laverty says that by tradition this chapel was built by St Patrick and left in the care of his disciples Glasicus and Liberius.[2]

Places of interest

The Ulster Wildlife Centre, run by the Ulster Wildlife Trust,[3], is situated in a Victorian walled garden in the grounds of Tobar Mhuire Monastery. Sir David Attenborough opened the Wildlife Centre in 1992. The Trust is a charity to promote conservation in its natural habitat.

Also situated in the same grounds is a huge Victorian conservatory with vines that were planted as far back as the last century.

Crossgar Free Presbyterian Church was the first congregation of the Free Presbyterian denomination worldwide. It was founded in 1951 when most of the elders and a large part of the congregation of Lissara Presbyterian Church seceded in a dispute between evangelicals and liberals and in which the Presbyterian Church in Ireland banned local people from using their own Church hall for a gospel mission. The evangelist for the mission was Rev Ian Paisley.

Tobar Mhuire Retreat and Conference Centre is run by the resident Passionist community, with 15 guest rooms, several conference rooms, and 60 acres of grounds. The centre is in a former manor house, known as Crossgar House, bought from Colonel Llewellyn Palmer by the Passionists in 1950 to house their Juniorate, a second-level school for boys interested in Passionist religious life and priesthood.


  • The Market House. Once derelict, now restored and turned into a children's nursery.
  • Disc Golf course, located on the Kilmore Road between Crossgar and Kilmore.
  • Orange Lodge, very active with a flute band called Crossgar Young Defenders (CYD) started in 1987.
  • James Martin Memorial Stone in the Square commemorates local man Sir James Martin OBE, the inventor of the ejector seat for aircraft and co-founder of the Martin-Baker Aircraft Company.
Crossgar Young Defenders

Big Society

  • Crossgar Young Defenders are a pipe band organised by the local Orange Lodge. They open their annual parade by matching through Crossgar.


  • Football: Kilmore Rec, who play at Robert Adams Park
  • Badminton: Lisara Badminton Club, who play at the Lisara Presbyterian Church Hall
  • Golf: Crossgar Golf Club], on the Derryboy Road (9 hole, par 64)

Transport links

Crossgar is on the main A7 road, 5 miles north of Downpatrick and 16 miles south of Belfast, and on the B7 minor road between Ballynahinch and Killyleagh.

Crossgar railway station opened on 23 March 1859, but finally closed on 16 January 1950.[4] Part of the track, from Downpatrick to Inch Abbey are operated by the Downpatrick & County Down Railway, a heritage railway.


Outside links


  1. Placenames NI
  2. O'Laverty: An Historical Account of the Diocese of Down and Connor, Ancient and Modern
  3. Ulster Wildlife Trust
  4. "Crossgar station" (PDF). Railscot - Irish Railways. Retrieved 2007-09-23. 
  • The whitewashed city: the story of Crossgar, County Down by Tom Hewitt. Vol. l (Crossgar, Tom Hewitt, 2004)