Hillsborough, County Down
Hillsborough is a village
A village is a clustered human settlement or community, larger than a hamlet with the population ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand , Though often located in rural areas, the term urban village is also applied to certain urban neighbourhoods, such as the West Village in Manhattan, New...

 and 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...

 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...

, situated 19 km (11.8 mi) from the city 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...

. It is within the Lisburn City Council
Lisburn City Council
Lisburn City Council is a district council covering an area partly in County Antrim and partly in County Down in Northern Ireland. The council is the second largest in the Belfast Metropolitan Area. Council headquarters are in the city of Lisburn, upon which was conferred city status in May 2002 as...


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.


Before 1661, the townland was known as Crumlin or Cromlin . By 1661 the townland and the settlement within it had been re-named Hillsborough. It was named after Sir Arthur Hill, who built Hillsborough Fort in 1650 to command the road from Dublin to Carrickfergus
Carrickfergus , known locally and colloquially as "Carrick", is a large town in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. It is located on the north shore of Belfast Lough, from Belfast. The town had a population of 27,201 at the 2001 Census and takes its name from Fergus Mór mac Eirc, the 6th century king...

. 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
Hilltown, County Down
Hilltown is a small village within the townland of Carcullion in County Down, Northern Ireland. Hilltown is the main village of the parish of Clonduff which also contains rural areas and another village named Cabra...

 and Hillhall
Hillhall is a townland and non-nucleated village in County Down, Northern Ireland, near Lisburn. In the 2001 Census it had a population of about one hundred people. It lies in the Lagan Valley Regional Park and the Lisburn City Council area...


A prominent memorial to the 3rd Marquis of Downshire (and closely resembling Nelson's column
Nelson's Column
Nelson's Column is a monument in Trafalgar Square in central London built to commemorate Admiral Horatio Nelson, who died at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. The monument was constructed between 1840 and 1843 to a design by William Railton at a cost of £47,000. It is a column of the Corinthian...

 in Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square is a public space and tourist attraction in central London, England, United Kingdom. At its centre is Nelson's Column, which is guarded by four lion statues at its base. There are a number of statues and sculptures in the square, with one plinth displaying changing pieces of...

, 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
    The word catholic comes from the Greek phrase , meaning "on the whole," "according to the whole" or "in general", and is a combination of the Greek words meaning "about" and meaning "whole"...

     background and 91.7% were from a Protestant
    Protestantism is one of the three major groupings within Christianity. It is a movement that began in Germany in the early 16th century as a reaction against medieval Roman Catholic doctrines and practices, especially in regards to salvation, justification, and ecclesiology.The doctrines of the...

  • 1.4% of people aged 16-74 were unemployed.

For further details see: NI Neighbourhood Information Service

Places of interest

  • Hillsborough Castle
    Hillsborough Castle
    Hillsborough Castle is an official government residence in Northern Ireland. It is the residence of the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, and the official residence in Northern Ireland of HM Queen Elizabeth II The Secretary of State combines two roles...

     a two storey Georgian mansion, was Government House from 1924 until 1973 and is the official residence of Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom
    Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom
    Elizabeth II is the constitutional monarch of 16 sovereign states known as the Commonwealth realms: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize,...

     (and other royal family members) when visiting the province and the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
    Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
    The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, informally the Northern Ireland Secretary, is the principal secretary of state in the government of the United Kingdom with responsibilities for Northern Ireland. The Secretary of State is a Minister of the Crown who is accountable to the Parliament of...

     from 1973. Hillsborough Castle was the venue for the signing of the Anglo-Irish Agreement
    Anglo-Irish Agreement
    The Anglo-Irish Agreement was an agreement between the United Kingdom and Ireland which aimed to help bring an end to the Troubles in Northern Ireland...

     in 1985. Former Prime Minister
    Prime minister
    A prime minister is the most senior minister of cabinet in the executive branch of government in a parliamentary system. In many systems, the prime minister selects and may dismiss other members of the cabinet, and allocates posts to members within the government. In most systems, the prime...

     Tony Blair
    Tony Blair
    Anthony Charles Lynton Blair is a former British Labour Party politician who served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2 May 1997 to 27 June 2007. He was the Member of Parliament for Sedgefield from 1983 to 2007 and Leader of the Labour Party from 1994 to 2007...

     has stayed at the castle on many occasions during negotiations related to the peace process
    Northern Ireland peace process
    The peace process, when discussing the history of Northern Ireland, is often considered to cover the events leading up to the 1994 Provisional Irish Republican Army ceasefire, the end of most of the violence of the Troubles, the Belfast Agreement, and subsequent political developments.-Towards a...

    , and hosted George W. Bush
    George W. Bush
    George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

     at the Castle for a one night visit in 2003

  • 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
    Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

    , Russia
    Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

    , the United States
    United States
    The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

     and Argentina
    Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

    ) The festivities include boat racing, parachuting, garden fêtes, oyster eating and Guinness
    Guinness is a popular Irish dry stout that originated in the brewery of Arthur Guinness at St. James's Gate, Dublin. Guinness is directly descended from the porter style that originated in London in the early 18th century and is one of the most successful beer brands worldwide, brewed in almost...

     drinking – all in the name of fun, revelry and charity.

  • The historic Parish Church dedicated to Saint Malachy
    Saint Malachy
    Saint Malachy was the Archbishop of Armagh, to whom were attributed several miracles and a vision of the identity of the last 112 Popes...

     is one of the finest examples of Gothic Revival architecture
    Gothic Revival architecture
    The Gothic Revival is an architectural movement that began in the 1740s in England...

    . 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
    Church of Ireland
    The Church of Ireland is an autonomous province of the Anglican Communion. The church operates in all parts of Ireland and is the second largest religious body on the island after the Roman Catholic Church...

     Diocese of Down and Dromore.

  • 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
    Benjamin Franklin
    Dr. Benjamin Franklin was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. A noted polymath, Franklin was a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, postmaster, scientist, musician, inventor, satirist, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat...

     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
    Declaration of independence
    A declaration of independence is an assertion of the independence of an aspiring state or states. Such places are usually declared from part or all of the territory of another nation or failed nation, or are breakaway territories from within the larger state...

    ' in July 1776 followed shortly after Franklin's return.


  • The composer and conductor Hamilton Harty
    Hamilton Harty
    Sir Hamilton Harty was an Irish and British composer, conductor, pianist and organist. In his capacity as a conductor, he was particularly noted as an interpreter of the music of Berlioz and he was much respected as a piano accompanist of exceptional prowess...

     (1879-1941), whose father William Harty was organist in the Parish Church, was born in Hillsborough.
  • Hillsborough was home to TV and radio presenter Gloria Hunniford
    Gloria Hunniford
    Gloria Hunniford is a Northern Irish TV and radio presenter, and formerly a singer.-Biography:...

     for a number of years. Her late daughter Caron Keating
    Caron Keating
    Caron Louisa Keating was a Northern Irish television presenter on British and Northern Irish television.-Early life and education:...

     spent much of her childhood in the village.
  • Frank Pantridge
    Frank Pantridge
    Professor James Francis "Frank" Pantridge, MD, CBE was a physician and cardiologist from Northern Ireland who transformed emergency medicine and paramedic services with the invention of the portable defibrillator....

     (1916-2004) was a physician and cardiologist born in Hillsborough, who invented the portable defibrillator.


  • In 2005 Lisnagarvey Hockey Club
    Lisnagarvey Hockey Club
    Lisnagarvey Hockey Club is the most successful Irish men's hockey club. The club is based in Hillsborough, County Down, Northern Ireland. It has a current membership of 700. The club also has a ladies section.-Formation:...

     relocated from their Blaris
    Sprucefield is a major out-of-town retail park in the townland of Magherageery, County Down, Northern Ireland. It is on the southern edge of Lisburn; about one mile from the middle of Lisburn and ten miles from the middle of Belfast. Sprucefield is located beside the M1 motorway and the A1 road...

     ground to the outskirts of Hillsborough.
  • Downshire Young Men F.C.
    Downshire Young Men F.C.
    Downshire Young Men is a Northern Irish football club playing in Division 1B of the Northern Amateur Football League. The club was formed c.1961 as Downshire F.C. and played in the Lisburn League until joining the Amateur League in 1974 under its present name. Intermediate status was achieved in...

See also

External links

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