|Irish: Baile Mhic Gabhann|
Ballygowan shown within Northern Ireland
|Population||2,671 (2001 Census)|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||Northern Ireland|
|List of places: UK • Northern Ireland • Down|
Ballygowan (from the Irish: Baile Mhic Gabhann meaning "Mac Gabhann's town") is a small town in County Down, Northern Ireland. It is within the Ards Borough Council area. The town of Comber is a short distance to the north-east, the town of Saintfield to the south, and the city of Belfast a further distance to the north-west. It had a population of 2,671 people in the 2001 Census.
Prior to the Ulster-Scots settlement in the early 1600s, when a great number of Presbyterians moved over from the Scottish Lowlands to settle in North Down on lands granted by King James I to James Hamilton and Hugh Montgomery, the area surrounding Ballygowan was sparsely inhabited by subsepts of the great 'Neill clan of Castlereagh. Since the late 1600s the population has been predominantly Presbyterian.
In the late 1700s the village comprised a bridge (over the River Blackwater at the intersection of the Comber/Saintfield and Killyleagh/Belfast roads), a dozen or so small houses and an inn. The surrounding townlands were populated by a great number of small tenant farmers and weavers. The main landlords were Lord Dufferin and Lord Londonderry.
From the mid-1800s through the early 1900s the population of the rural area surrounding Ballygowan declined considerably as many people emigrated to North America or found work in Comber, Saintfield and particularly in Belfast. However, it was during this period, and subsequent to the introduction of the Belfast & County Down Railway in 1850, that the village began to grow. After the railway closed in 1950 the village became an attractive "dormitory" town and the ensuing 50 years have seen rapid growth. Ballygowan railway station opened on 10 September 1858, but finally closed on 16 January 1950.
Ballygowan is classified as an Intermediate Settlement by the NI Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) (ie with population between 2,250 and 4,500 people). On Census day (29 April 2001) there were 2,671 people living in Ballygowan. Of these:
For more details see: NI Neighbourhood Information Service
Ballygowan has two primary schools:
1. Alexander Dickson, in the centre of Ballygowan
2. Carrickmannon, a smaller school about 1 mile outside Ballygowan
3. St. Mary's Primary School (Closed since 2007)
4 Ballykeigle Primary School about 2 miles outside Ballygowan.