Dundonald is a large settlement in County Down
County Down
-Cities:*Belfast *Newry -Large towns:*Dundonald*Newtownards*Bangor-Medium towns:...

, Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

. It lies east of Belfast
Belfast is the capital of and largest city in Northern Ireland. By population, it is the 14th biggest city in the United Kingdom and second biggest on the island of Ireland . It is the seat of the devolved government and legislative Northern Ireland Assembly...

 and is often deemed to be a suburb
The word suburb mostly refers to a residential area, either existing as part of a city or as a separate residential community within commuting distance of a city . Some suburbs have a degree of administrative autonomy, and most have lower population density than inner city neighborhoods...

 of the city. It includes the large housing estate of Ballybeen
Ballybeen , also known as Ballybeen Housing Estate, is the second largest housing estate in Northern Ireland. It is within the townland of Ballybeen and Carrowreagh all inside the town of Dundonald on the outskirts of east Belfast — between the Newtownards Road and Comber Road. Started in 1963, and...

, and many new housing estates have emerged in the past ten years.


Dundonald refers to a 12th century Norman
The Normans were the people who gave their name to Normandy, a region in northern France. They were descended from Norse Viking conquerors of the territory and the native population of Frankish and Gallo-Roman stock...

 fort, or Dún
Dun is now used both as a generic term for a fort and also for a specific variety of Atlantic roundhouse...

, Dún Dónaill, that stood in the town. One of the largest in Ireland, the man-made hill that the fort stood on is still in existence.

Although the mound is commonly referred to as 'the moat' this is, in fact, a corruption of the word 'motte' and refers to the fact that this defensive structure was built in the style of a motte and bailey. St. Elizabeth's Church is located beside the moat, with the Cleland Mausoleum in the adjacent graveyard.

Dundonald acquired rail links to Belfast and Newtownards
Newtownards is a large town in County Down, Northern Ireland. It lies at the most northern tip of Strangford Lough, 10 miles east of Belfast, on the Ards Peninsula. Newtownards is the largest town in the Borough of Ards. According to the 2001 Census, it has a population of 27,821 people in...

 in 1850, Downpatrick
Downpatrick is a medium-sized town about 33 km south of Belfast in County Down, Northern Ireland. It is the county town of Down with a rich history and strong connection to Saint Patrick. It had a population of 10,316 at the 2001 Census...

 in 1859 and Newcastle
Newcastle, County Down
Newcastle is a small town in County Down, Northern Ireland. It had a population of 7,444 people recorded in the 2001 Census. The seaside resort lies on the Irish Sea coast at the base of Slieve Donard, one of the Mourne Mountains, and is known for its sandy beach and the Royal County Down Golf Club...

 in 1869. The rail link with Belfast encouraged Dundonald to expand as a commuter
Commuting is regular travel between one's place of residence and place of work or full time study. It sometimes refers to any regular or often repeated traveling between locations when not work related.- History :...

 town, but in 1950 the railway line running through Dundonald was closed. Dundonald station was opened on 6 May 1850, but finally closed on 24 April 1950.

Until the 1960s, Dundonald was a small village. A number of property developments, most notably the housing estate Ballybeen, were then built and Dundonald's population rapidly grew.


For census purposes, Dundonald is not treated as a separate entity by the NI Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA). Instead, it is combined with a large part of east and southeast Belfast to form the "Castlereagh Urban Area". A fairly accurate population count can be found by combining the data of the electoral wards that make up Dundonald. These wards are Ballyhanwood 1, Carrowreagh, Dundonald, Enler, and Grahams Bridge. However, the wards also include part of the countryside surrounding Dundonald.

On the day of the last census (29 April 2001)
United Kingdom Census 2001
A nationwide census, known as Census 2001, was conducted in the United Kingdom on Sunday, 29 April 2001. This was the 20th UK Census and recorded a resident population of 58,789,194....

, the combined population of these wards was 13,985. This is within the bounds of the medium-sized town (a population between 10,000 and 18,000).


Dundonald sprang up within the small parish
Civil parish
In England, a civil parish is a territorial designation and, where they are found, the lowest tier of local government below districts and counties...

 of the same name. Like the rest of Ireland, this parish has long been divided into townland
A townland or bally is a small geographical division of land used in Ireland. The townland system is of Gaelic origin—most townlands are believed to pre-date the Norman invasion and most have names derived from the Irish language...

s, whose names mostly come from the Irish language
Irish language
Irish , also known as Irish Gaelic, is a Goidelic language of the Indo-European language family, originating in Ireland and historically spoken by the Irish people. Irish is now spoken as a first language by a minority of Irish people, as well as being a second language of a larger proportion of...

. Over time, more rural townlands have been built upon and they have given their names to many roads and housing estates. The following is a list of townlands within Dundonald's urban area, alongside their likely etymologies
Etymology is the study of the history of words, their origins, and how their form and meaning have changed over time.For languages with a long written history, etymologists make use of texts in these languages and texts about the languages to gather knowledge about how words were used during...

  • Ballybeen (likely from Baile Binne meaning "townland of the peak" or Baile Bín meaning "Bín's townland")
  • Ballymiscaw (likely from Baile Lios na Scáth meaning "townland of the fort of shadows")
  • Ballyoran (likely from Baile Fhuaráin meaning "townland of the spring")
  • Ballyregan (likely from Baile Uí Riagáin meaning "Ó Riagáin's townland")
  • Carrowreagh (likely from an Cheathrú Riabhach meaning "the speckled quarterland")
  • Dunlady (likely from Dún Léide meaning "Léide's stronghold")

Places of interest

A 300 year old watermill
A watermill is a structure that uses a water wheel or turbine to drive a mechanical process such as flour, lumber or textile production, or metal shaping .- History :...

 is located on the Belfast Road in the town. The sandstone building has been extensively restored and includes a brasserie
In France and the Francophone world, a brasserie is a type of French restaurant with a relaxed, upscale setting, which serves single dishes and other meals. The word 'brasserie' is also French for "brewery" and, by extension, "the brewing business"...

, gift shop and a 35 foot waterwheel, the largest in Ireland.

The Comber Greenway is a direct traffic free link into Belfast and it passes through Dundonald. It is enjoyed by thousands of cyclists and walkers on a daily basis. This area of tranquility is currently under threat by the proposed rapid transport link into Belfast.

In 1986, The Dundonald International Ice Bowl was opened in the town. This originally comprised an Olympic sized ice rink
Ice rink
An ice rink is a frozen body of water and/or hardened chemicals where people can skate or play winter sports. Besides recreational ice skating, some of its uses include ice hockey, figure skating and curling as well as exhibitions, contests and ice shows...

 and a 20 lane AMF
AMF Bowling Center
AMF Bowling Centers, Inc. is the world's largest owner and operator of bowling centers, employing more than 10,000 people. The centers offer multi-lane Ten-pin bowling for all ages, support league play, and local events such as Dollar Mania and Late Night College Fest as well as Xtreme Bowling...

 ten pin bowling alley. In later years, "Indianaland", a children's indoor adventure playground was added along with Laser Quest, a simulated combat arena using laser tag equipment. The bowling alley was upgraded to 30 lanes in the 1990s and an extensive miniature golf
Miniature golf
Miniature golf, or minigolf, is a miniature version of the sport of golf. While the international sports organization World Minigolf Sport Federation prefers to use the name "minigolf", the general public in different countries has also many other names for the game: miniature golf, mini-golf,...

 course has recently been built. The site also contains a David Lloyd
David Lloyd (tennis)
David Lloyd is a former professional English tennis player and businessman.He was born in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex. He and his younger brother John Lloyd became two of the most successful British tennis players throughout the 1970s and 1980s. David captained the British Davis Cup team and became a...

 fitness centre. In 2006, the area was designated as the Dundonald Leisure Park, as part of the Draft Belfast Metropolitan Area Plan 2015. In 2008, an Omniplex
Omniplex may refer to:* Omniplex, a Ward Anderson cinema in Ireland* The Omniplex Science Museum, a previous name of the Science Museum Oklahoma in Oklahoma City...

 cinema was built on the opposite side of the Old Dundonald Road, together with several leisure and restaurant units.

The Ulster Hospital
Ulster Hospital
The Ulster Hospital is a hospital in Dundonald in County Down, Northern Ireland. It is within the townland of Ballyregan, beside the A20 road....

 is located in Dundonald, known colloquially as "The Ulster".


From 1928 to 1936, the RAC Tourist Trophy
RAC Tourist Trophy
The International Tourist Trophy is an award given by the Royal Automobile Club and awarded semi-annually to the winners of a selected motor racing event each year in the United Kingdom. It was first awarded in 1905 and continues to be awarded to this day, making it the longest lasting trophy in...

 (TT) motorcar races took place on a (closed) road circuit encompassing Newtownards
Newtownards is a large town in County Down, Northern Ireland. It lies at the most northern tip of Strangford Lough, 10 miles east of Belfast, on the Ards Peninsula. Newtownards is the largest town in the Borough of Ards. According to the 2001 Census, it has a population of 27,821 people in...

, Comber
Comber is a small town in County Down, Northern Ireland. It lies 5 miles south of Newtownards, at the northern end of Strangford Lough. It had a population of 8,933 people in the 2001 Census. Comber is part of the Borough of Ards...

 and Dundonald in County Down, run in a clockwise direction. The pits were still visible up until the 1960s. A popular viewing point was the hairpin bend at the Central Bar in Dundonald. Industrialist and pioneer of the modern agricultural tractor, Harry Ferguson
Harry Ferguson
Henry George "Harry" Ferguson was an Irish engineer and inventor who is noted for his role in the development of the modern agricultural tractor, for becoming the first Irishman to build and fly his own aeroplane, and for developing the first four-wheel drive Formula One car, the Ferguson P99...

, was instrumental in setting up the race, which was known as the Ards TT.

A number of local football teams play in the Down Area Winter Football League, "Dundonald F.C." "Moat Park Rangers" and "43RD Old Boys" are the three clubs that are well known in the town.

At the time, it was Northern Ireland’s premier sporting event, regularly attracting crowds in excess of a quarter of a million people. Although it was a speed event, the entries were handicapped in order to allow cars of very different sizes and capabilities to race against each other on supposedly even terms over 30 laps (35 laps from 1933) of the 13.7 mile circuit. On September 5, 1936, in wet conditions, local driver Jack Chambers lost control of his Riley and crashed into the crowd, killing eight spectators. This tragedy brought an end to nine years of racing over the Ards road circuit.

The town's ice rink, the Dundonald Ice Bowl is home to the Irish Ice Hockey League's Junior Belfast Giants
Junior Belfast Giants
The Junior Belfast Giants are ice hockey team that plays in the Irish Ice Hockey League. They play their games in the 1,500 seat Dundonald Ice Bowl in Dundonald, Northern Ireland...



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    Glenn 'Spike' Ferguson is a former Northern Irish footballer. He played for Ards and Glenavon before joining Linfield in January 1998 for an Irish League record transfer fee of £55,000...

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    Linfield F.C. , is a semi-professional, Northern Irish football club, whose home ground is Windsor Park in Belfast, which is also the home of the Northern Ireland international team....


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