Coordinates: 54°30′43″N 6°01′52″W / 54.512, -6.031
Irish: Lios na gCearrbhach
Irish Linen Centre Lisburn Museum.jpg
Irish Linen Museum and Christ Church Cathedral

Lisburn is located in Northern Ireland

 Lisburn shown within Northern Ireland
Population 71,465 (2001 Census)
    - Belfast  8 miles 
District Lisburn City
County County Antrim
County Down
Country Northern Ireland
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town LISBURN
Postcode district BT27
Dialling code 028
Police Northern Ireland
Fire Northern Ireland
Ambulance Northern Ireland
EU Parliament Northern Ireland
UK Parliament Lagan Valley
NI Assembly Lagan Valley
List of places: UK • Northern Ireland •

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Lisburn (Irish: Lios na gCearrbhach) is a city in Northern Ireland. It is situated south-west of Belfast on the River Lagan, which is the boundary between County Antrim and County Down. Lisburn forms part of the Belfast metropolitan area. It had a population of 71,465 people in the 2001 Census and a population density of 243 per km².[1]

Formerly a borough, Lisburn was granted city status in 2002 as part of Queen Elizabeth II's Golden Jubilee celebrations. It is the third-largest city in Northern Ireland and the sixth-largest on the island of Ireland.


The city was originally known as Lisnagarvy or Lisnagarvey (from Irish: Lios na gCearrbhach meaning "ringfort of the gamesters/gamblers").[2] This is the name of the townland in which it formed. Cathedral and other records show that the name Lisburn came into common use around 1662. It is traditionally held that the town was renamed in 1662 to commemorate its burning during the Irish Rebellion of 1641.[3] The original name is still used in the titles of some local schools and sports teams.

The name Lisburn is mentioned in the depositions concerning the 1641 Rebellion where it is spelled phonetically as "Louzy Barne". James Wilson of Tunny stated as follows:

The examinacion of Jam: Wilson of Tunny in Com: Antrim aged fifty yeares or thereabouts taken vpon oath 9 June 1653 [...] was taken by prisoner by one Cormack McCan roe O Neale, & presently after the Irish in all the Country gathering togeather to goe & take Lisnegaruy [...] this examinant saith that at their comeing to Lisnegaruy aforesaid his said Capten with his Company charged on & came on the backside of the towne by a place called Louzy Barne & saith that they were presently beaten of by such of the English...[4]


Lisburn's original site was located on what is now known as Hill Street, on a hill above the River Lagan. There was also a fort on the north side of what is now known as Castle Gardens. In 1611 James I granted Sir Fulke Conway, a Welshman of Norman descent,[5] the lands of Killultagh in south-west County Antrim. During the 1620s the streets of Lisburn were laid out just as they are today: Market Square, Bridge Street, Castle Street and Bow Street. Conway brought over many English and Welsh settlers during the Ulster Plantation; he also had a manor house built on what is now Castle Gardens and in 1623 a church on the site of the current cathedral. The Manor House was destroyed in the accidental fire of 1707 and was never rebuilt; the city's Latin motto, Ex igne resurgam ("Out of the fire I shall arise"), is a reference to this incident.

Lisburn Market House - now forming part of the Irish Linen Centre/Lisburn Museum

Lisburn is also known as the birthplace of Ireland's linen industry, which was established in 1698 by Louis Crommelin and other Huguenots. An exhibition about the Irish linen industry is now housed in the Irish Linen Centre, which can be found in the old Market House in Market Square.[6]

Lisburn is one of the constituent cities that make up the Dublin-Belfast corridor region which has a population of just under 3 million.

The Troubles[]

The Cold War[]

Between 1954 and 1992 Lisburn contained the operational headquarters of No 31 Belfast Group Royal Observer Corps[7] who operated from a protected nuclear bunker on Knox Road within Thiepval Barracks. Converted from a 1940s Anti-aircraft Operations Room (AAOR) the bunker would support over one hundred ROC volunteers and a ten-man United Kingdom Warning and Monitoring Organisation warning team responsible for the famous Four-minute warning in the event of a nuclear strike on the UK. The ROC would also have detected radioactive fallout from the nuclear bursts and warned the public of approaching fallout.

The two organisations were disbanded in 1992 at the end of the Cold War. In 2007 a commemorative plaque was mounted on the wall of the nuclear bunker which still stands, in recognition of the service of ROC volunteers all over the Province. The BBC newsreader and steam railway enthusiast Sullivan Boomer was an Observer Commander in the ROC and served as Group Commandant of the Belfast group during the 1970s and 1980s.

Lisburn Civic Centre


Lisburn is the administrative centre of the Lisburn City Council area,[8] which also includes Hillsborough, Moira, Dromara, Glenavy, Dunmurry and Drumbo.

In elections for the Westminster Parliament the city falls mainly into the Lagan Valley constituency but partly into West Belfast.

The headquarters of the British Army in Northern Ireland at Thiepval Barracks and the headquarters of the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service are located in the city.

Demographics and education[]

Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1821 4,684
1831 5,745 +22.7%
1841 6,284 +9.4%
1851 6,533 +4.0%
1861 7,462 +14.2%
1871 7,876 +5.5%
1881 10,755 +36.6%
1891 12,250 +13.9%
1901 11,461 −6.4%
1911 12,388 +8.1%
1926 12,406 +0.1%
1937 13,042 +5.1%
1951 14,781 +13.3%
1961 17,700 +19.7%
1966 21,522 +21.6%
1971 31,836 +47.9%
1981 40,391 +26.9%
1991 42,110 +4.3%
2001 71,465 +69.7%


Lisburn Urban Area is within Belfast Metropolitan Urban Area (BMUA) and is classified as a Large Town by the NI Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) (i.e. with population between 18,000 and 75,000 people). On census day (29 April 2001) there were 71,465 people living in Lisburn. Of these:

  • 25.4% were aged under 16 years and 15.6% were aged 60 and over.
  • 52.1% were female and 47.9% were male.
  • 62.8% were from a Protestant background and 33.4% were from a Catholic background.
  • 4.0% of people aged 16–74 were unemployed.[10]


  • Central Primary School
  • Tonagh Primary School
  • Largymore Primary School
  • St. Aloysius Primary School
  • Killowen Primary School
  • Ballymacash Primary School
  • Brownlee Primary School
  • Forthill Primary School
  • Harmony Hill Primary School
  • St. Joseph's Primary School
  • St. Colman's Primary School
  • Old Warren Primary School
  • Knockmore Primary School
  • Pond Park Primary School
  • Friends' School
  • Lisnagarvey High School
  • Wallace High School
  • Forthill College
  • Laurelhill Community College
  • St. Patrick's High School
  • South Eastern Regional College: Lisburn Campus (formerly Lisburn Institute)


Lisburn is notable for its large number of churches, with 134 churches listed in the Lisburn City Council area.[11] One of two cathedrals in the Church of Ireland Diocese of Connor is in Lisburn, Christ Church Cathedral.



Lisburn railway station was opened on 12 August 1839.[12] The railway remains a popular means of transport between Lisburn and Belfast, with the express trains taking 10–15 minutes to reach Belfast's Great Victoria Street. The train also links the city directly with Portadown, Lurgan, Moira and Bangor. The station also serves connections to Dublin which require a change at either Portadown or Belfast Central. All railway services from the station are provided by Northern Ireland Railways, a subsidiary of Translink.


  • Ulsterbus provides various bus services that connect the city with Belfast city centre, which lies eight miles northeast. These services generally operate either along Belfast's Lisburn Road or through the Falls area in west Belfast. In addition to long-distance services to Craigavon, Newry and Banbridge, there is also a network of buses that serve the rural areas around the city, such as Glenavy and Dromara.
  • The city has a vast network of local buses, serving the local housing developments and amenities. These are operated by Ulsterbus.[13]
  • A new Bus Centre, provided by the regional public transport provider Translink, opened on 30 June 2008 at the corner of Smithfield Street and the Hillsborough Road. It replaced the shelters that formerly stood in Smithfield Square.[14]
  • Tiger Coaches operates a late night bus service on Friday and Saturday Nights between Lisburn and Belfast.


The city has a favourable position on the Belfast-Dublin corridor, being connected with the former by the M1 motorway from which it can be accessed through junctions 3, 6, 7 and 8. The A1 road to Newry and Dublin deviates from the M1 at the Sprucefield interchange, which is positioned one mile southeast of the city centre. An inner orbital route was formed throughout the 1980s which has permitted the city centre to operate a one-way system as well as the pedestrianisation of the Bow Street shopping precinct.[15] In addition to this, a feeder road leading from Milltown on the outskirts of Belfast to Ballymacash in north Lisburn, was opened in 2006. This route connects with the A512 and permits traffic from Lisburn to easily access the M1 at junction 3 (Dunmurry) thus relieving pressure on the southern approaches to the city.[16]


The local area code, like the rest of Northern Ireland is 028. However all local 8-digit subscriber numbers are found in the form 92xx-xxxx. Before the Big Number Change in 2000, the STD code for Lisburn and its surrounding area was 01846.

Health care[]

The main hospital in the city is the Lagan Valley Hospital, which provides Accident and Emergency services to the area. The hospital lost its acute services in 2006 and is set to lose maternity services in 2009. Residents now must travel to Belfast for acute surgery. Primary care in the area is provided by the Lisburn Health Centre, which opened in 1977.[17] The city lies within the South Eastern Health and Social Care Board area, formerly known as Down and Lisburn Trust.



  • Lisburn Distillery is an association football club playing in the Irish Premier League. The club, founded in 1879, originated in West Belfast, where it was based at Distillery Street off the Grosvenor Road until 1971. After sharing grounds with several other Belfast clubs, Distillery again moved in 1980 to the New Grosvenor Stadium in the townland of Ballyskeagh, near Lambeg on the outskirts of the city. The club changed its name in 1999 to 'Lisburn Distillery' in an attempt to associate itself more closely with its adopted borough. The club's colours are all white, and the current manager is Tommy Wright. Despite the change in name, Belfast clubs Glentoran and Linfield remain more popular with the population of Lisburn.
  • The city remains a key centre for youth football, hosting most games in the 'Lisburn Junior Invitational League', an amateur youth league which incorporates many teams from across the east of Ulster.

Other Sports[]

  • Lisburn Basketball Club
  • Lisburn Cricket Club
  • Lisburn Racquets Club
  • St. Patrick's GAA


  • Sir Richard Wallace made quite an impact on Lisburn. His bequests include the Wallace Park and Wallace High School. In 1872 he donated drinking fountains, known as Wallace fountains, two of which can still be seen near the cricket pitch in Wallace Park, another in front of Lisburn Linen Museum in Bow Street and another in Castle Gardens. Wallace was created baronet in 1871 and was Member of Parliament for Lisburn from 1873 to 1885.
  • Super-middleweight boxer Brian Magee is from Lisburn.
  • Renowned linguist, academic and author David Crystal OBE was born in Lisburn in 1941.
  • Plymouth Argyle midfielder Damien Johnson was born here.
  • Singer-songwriter Duke Special was born in Lisburn in 1971.
  • Philip Lisk local comedian, known for his persistent promiscuousness with the gender of the ladykind.

See also[]

  • List of towns and villages in Northern Ireland
  • Market Houses in Northern Ireland
  • Lisburn telephone exchange code


  1. ^ It should be noted that this population figure includes Dunmurry and its associated housing areas. There is uncertainty as to whether these areas will remain in the Lisburn/Castlereagh council area after the proposed Local Government reform in 2011 - which may see them transfer to Belfast [1].
  2. ^ Placenames NI
  3. ^ Placenames Database of Ireland (see archival records)
  4. ^ [2]
  5. ^ [3][4]
  6. ^ Lisburn City Council: Irish Linen Centre and Lisburn Museum
  7. ^ ROC HQ locations and photographs
  8. ^ Office of Public Sector Information
  9. ^ and for post 1821 figures, 1813 estimate from Mason’s Statistical Survey For a discussion on the accuracy of pre-famine census returns see J. J. Lee “On the accuracy of the pre-famine Irish censuses Irish Population, Economy and Society edited by J. M. Goldstrom and LA Clarkson (1981) p54, in and also New Developments in Irish Population History, 1700-1850 by Joel Mokyr and Cormac Ó Gráda in The Economic History Review, New Series, Vol. 37, No. 4 (Nov, 1984), pp. 473-488.
  10. ^ NI neighbourhood Information Service
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Lisburn station" (PDF). Railscot - Irish Railways. Retrieved 2007-08-28. 
  13. ^ Translink Service 325: "Lisburn City Service"
  14. ^ Translink Press Release 16-Jun-2008: "Passengers to benefit from Brand New Lisburn Buscentre
  15. ^ Planning Service: BMAP 2015. Transportation in Lisburn
  16. ^ Northern Ireland Roads Site (Wesley Johnston): North Lisburn Feeder Road
  17. ^ "Health and Wealth in the Borough of Lisburn. By E.J.Best". Lisburn Historical Society (Vol. 2). Retrieved 2008-08-01. 

External links[]

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This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Lisburn. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.