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County Armagh
St Mark's Parish Church, Killylea - - 106633.jpg
St Mark's Parish Church, Killylea
Grid reference: H795449
Location: 54°20’49"N, 6°46’40"W
Postcode: BT60
Dialling code: 028
Local Government
Council: Armagh, Banbridge
and Craigavon
Newry and Armagh

Killylea is a small village and townland in County Armagh. It is set on a hill, with St Mark’s Church of Ireland, built in 1832, at its summit.

The village is in the west of County Armagh, and is close to the neighbouring counties of Tyrone and Monaghan, the latter in the Republic of Ireland. It had a population of 253 people in the 2011 Census.

The name of the village is form the irish language: Coillidh Léith, meaning "Grey forest"'


In 1858 Killylea railway station opened, situated on the Elm Park Road. It was opened by the Ulster Railway and became part of the Great Northern Railway in 1876, offering people the chance to travel to Belfast and Dublin. Like most rural railways in Northern Ireland, it was not to last and eventually closed in 1957. The station platforms can still be seen today from the railway bridge on the Elm Park Road.

In September 1887 events on the platform of Killylea railway station made it into the House of Commons as Alexander Blane, Nationalist MP for South Armagh asked a question relating to an attack on a train by what he described as an "Orange mob". Edward King-Harman, then Under-Secretary for Ireland, stated "that a party of Nationalists returning by train from a meeting at Middle-town, County Armagh, while passing Killylea Station, which is essentially an Orange district, made use of party cries" and that the only shot fired was from the train, concluding that "Nationalists appear to have been altogether responsible" for the events. He goes on to say that a "boy" was injured by the shot fired from the train but that he escaped with only minor injuries to his foot.

From 1920 to 1954 Killylea was home to an elite private school, Elm Park Preparatory School. This was set up by Seth Smith and Willoughby Weaving to educate boys up to the age of 14. Following the outbreak of the Second World War, the school's population expanded dramatically because parents believed that it was safer than sending their children to England. This expansion, however, was not to last and due to a decline in numbers in the years following the War, the school was forced to close in 1954. One of the most famous pupils to attend Elm Park school was Brian Faulkner who was to become the sixth and final Prime Minister of Northern Ireland, presiding over the prorogation of the Stormont Parliament in 1972 following the outbreak of the Troubles only a few years earlier. Faulkner attended the school from 1933 to 1935. There is still a pew in St. Mark's Church which bears the name of the school as it is where the boys sat when they attended church each Sunday.

As is illustrated by the name of the pub at the top of Main Street, Killylea has always been closely associated with hunting, with the traditional Boxing Day hunt taking place in December each year. This tradition stretches back to 1838 when the Tynan and Armagh Harriers were established by Sir James Stronge.

Transport links

The Ulster Railway opened Killylea railway station on 25 May 1858.[1]. In 1876 the Ulster Railway was merged with other railway companies to form the Great Northern Railway. The line and station were closed on 14 October 1957.

Killylea is situated just off the A28, Aughnacloy to Newry road. Five miles to the east, this leads to the city of Armagh, and beyond to the south-west towards Newry. To the west, the A28 leads towards Aughnacloy and, beyond, towards Omagh and Enniskillen.

Further afield, Killylea is also served by the M1 motorway which can be accessed twelve miles to the north, near Dungannon or, alternatively, near Portadown which is fifteen miles to the north-east.

Killylea proverbs

"Once you break the head off your Orange Lily, you can't put it back on again".

This proverb means that people should be careful not to do things that they may later regret because, very often, they cannot be undone.


  • Church of Ireland: St Mark's
  • Methodist: Killylea Methodist Church


  • Lawn Bowls: Killylea Bowls Club

Although football is a popular sport in Killylea, the village does not have its own team. A team representing the village used to compete in local leagues under the name of Killylea Swifts Football Club.


The Orange Order has a strong presence in the village and district with 11 lodges in the surrounding area and two in the village itself. Numerous marching bands also exist in the area. Most notable amongst these would be Cormeen Rising Sons of William Flute Band, Killylea Silver Band, the Crozier Memorial Pipe Band and Ballyrea Boyne Defenders Flute Band.

Two of the largest band parades in Northern Ireland's parading calendar are hosted in Killylea. Cormeen host their parade on St Patrick's Day every year and Ballyrea hold a Battle of the Somme commemoration parade every year on 1 July. In 2012 Cormeen's parade was, for the first time, held in Armagh City.

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Killylea)


  1. "Killylea". Railscot - Irish Railways. Retrieved 2012-04-29.