Killyleagh Castle seen from Church Hill
Killyleagh harbor and St John's church
Killyleagh Castle

Killyleagh (play /kɪliˈl/; from Irish: Cill Uí Laoch)[1] is a village in County Down, Northern Ireland. It is on the A22 road from Downpatrick, on the western side of Strangford Lough. It had a population of 2,483 people in the 2001 Census. It is best known for its 12th century Killyleagh Castle. It lies within the Down District Council area and the Strangford Constituency area.



Killyleagh 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 2,483 people living in Killyleagh. Of these:

  • 22.5% were aged under 16 years and 20.3% were aged 60 and over
  • 49.5% of the population were male and 50.5% were female
  • 37.8% were from a Catholic background and 60.4% were from a Protestant background
  • 4.4% of people aged 16-75 were unemployed.

For more details see: NI Neighbourhood Information Service

Places of interest

  • Killyleagh Castle is a riot of turrets and battlements rising like a fairytale vision above Killyleagh as this amazing Loire-style chateau completely dominates the small village. It is now a private family home, claimed to be the oldest inhabited castle in Ireland. It has been the home of the Hamilton family since the 17th century Plantation of Ulster and acquired its fairy-tale silhouette in the 1850s when the turrets were added, but it is mostly the same castle that the second Earl of Clanbrassil rebuilt in 1666. The castle hosts occasional concerts. In the past performers have included Van Morrison, Glen Hansard and Bap Kennedy.
  • Delamont Country Park is just outside Killyleagh on the road to Downpatrick.


  • It was the birthplace of Hans Sloane. He began collecting plants and birds eggs on the shores of Strangford Lough and his accumulation grew into a priceless collection that formed the nucleus of the British Museum. He was also personal physician to King George II.
  • Reverend Edward Hincks, a renowned Assyriologist and Egyptologist, was appointed Church of Ireland rector of Killyleagh in 1825, an office he was to hold for the remaining forty-one years of his life.
  • Dr Henry Cooke was the minister of 1st Presbyterian Church, who went on to become Moderator of the General Assembly and a leading exponent of orthodox Presbyterianism in Belfast in the mid 19th century. His statue in Belfast, standing outside the Royal Belfast Academical Institution, is known as "The Black Man".
  • Killyleagh is the home town of David Healy, the Rangers and Northern Ireland football player. Healy holds the record for most goals scored by a Northern Ireland player, with 35 to date (15th October 2008). He also holds the record for most goals scored in a European Championship Qualifying Phase, with 13 goals during the country's failed bid to reach Euro 2008. Also, his teammate Trevor Carson was born here.
  • The present Duke of York, HRH The Prince Andrew, has the title Baron Killyleagh.
  • Robert Lowry (1824-1904), born in Killyleagh, emigrated to the USA and became a judge and U.S. Representative from Indiana.

Twin town

Killyleagh is twinned with Cleveland, North Carolina, USA.

See also


  1. ^ Placenames Database of Ireland

External links

Coordinates: 54°24′N 5°39′W / 54.40°N 5.65°W / 54.40; -5.65

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