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Coordinates: 54°27′43″N 6°04′59″W / 54.462°N 6.083°W / 54.462; -6.083

Irish: Cromghlinn
Hillsborough is located in Northern Ireland

 Hillsborough shown within Northern Ireland
Population 3,400 (2001 Census)
District Lisburn
County County Down
Country Northern Ireland
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district BT26
Dialling code 028
EU Parliament Northern Ireland
UK Parliament Lagan Valley
NI Assembly Lagan Valley
List of places: UK • Northern Ireland • Down

Hillsborough, known before the Plantation of Ulster as Cromlin (from the Irish: Cromghlinn meaning "crooked glen"), is a village and townland in County Down, Northern Ireland, situated 19 km (12 miles) from the city of Belfast. It is within the Lisburn City Council area.

The historic centre of the village contains significant amounts of Georgian architecture. The village was originally a compact settlement hosting a regular market. More recently land to the north of the village has been developed as housing and Hillsborough has become part of the commuter belt of Belfast. In recent years townhouses and apartments have been built closer to the centre of the village, and the former civic building of Lisburn Borough Council has been converted to residential use. That building is in twentieth century neo-Georgian style. Development to the east of the village is continuing to swell Hillsborough's population. The associated settlements of Culcavy and Aghnatrisk to the north-west are also growing.

A prominent feature of the east and south approaches to Hillsborough is a 5-mile wall which encloses the "Park Dam", an artificial lake, and the forest surrounding it.

In 2007 Hillsborough won 3rd place in the Ulster in Bloom large village competition.[1]



Mature settlement of Aghnatrisk, 2 miles from the village.

The village takes its name from Sir Arthur Hill, who built Hillsborough Fort in 1650 to command the road from Dublin to Carrickfergus. The Hill family became the Earls of Hillsborough, then Marquises of Downshire. Their influence is seen elsewhere in Northern Ireland, having also lent their name to Hilltown and Hillhall.

A prominent memorial to the 3rd Marquis of Downshire (and closely resembling Nelson's column in Trafalgar Square, London) stands to the south of the village and is visible throughout much of the surrounding area.


Hillsborough 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 3,400 people living in Hillsborough. Of these:

  • 19.9% were aged under 16 years and 21.4% were aged 60 and over
  • 47.9% of the population were male and 52.1% were female
  • 5.0% were from a Catholic background and 91.7% were from a Protestant background
  • 1.4% of people aged 16-74 were unemployed.

For further details see: NI Neighbourhood Information Service

Places of interest

St Malachy's Parish Church, Hillsborough
Former Market House - the Court House and Tourist Information Office
  • There are many interesting walks and local pubs offering delicacies to enjoy; and is home to a public forest park and lake that form the picturesque setting for the original fort residence of Lord Hillsborough. Hillsborough hosts an International Oyster Festival each year, generally September. This attracts thousands of visitors from as far away as Japan, Russia, the United States and Argentina) The festivities include boat racing, parachuting, garden fêtes, oyster eating and Guinness drinking – all in the name of fun, revelry and charity.
  • The historic Parish Church dedicated to Saint Malachy is one of the finest examples of Gothic Revival architecture. It was built by the 1st Marquis of Downshire between 1760 and 1774, in the hope that the church would become the cathedral of the diocese of Down. In addition to its imposing setting, it boasts two 18th century organs, a peal of ten bells and a number of works by notable craftsmen of the era, including the Colours of the County Down Battalion of Carson's Ulster Volunteers. Today it is a vibrant parish in the Church of Ireland Diocese of Down and Dromore.

Hockey club is down out towards Annahilt


War memorial in the village centre
  • Hillsborough is (in somewhat exaggerated terms) said to be the birthplace of the United States - due to a disastrous meeting that took place between Benjamin Franklin and Lord Hillsborough (then the acting Secretary of State for the Colonies) in the early 1770s. They are reported to have hated each other at first sight and, on leaving 3 days into a week long visit, Franklin returned home to convince the dissident colonists he represented that there was no alternative but to initiate immediate revolution. The 'Declaration of Independence' in July 1776 followed shortly after Franklin's return.
  • The composer and conductor Hamilton Harty (whose father William Harty was organist in the Parish Church) was born in the village in 1879.
  • Hillsborough was also home to TV and radio presenter Gloria Hunniford for a number of years. Her late daughter Caron Keating spent much of her childhood in the village.
  • Dr. James Francis "Frank" Pantridge, MD, CBE (b. October 3, 1916, Hillsborough, County Down – d. December 26, 2004) was a physician and cardiologist from Northern Ireland who transformed emergency medicine and paramedic services with the invention of the portable defibrillator.



See also

External links



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