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Your Are Here - Home > Counties > Armagh County
County Armagh (from the Irish: Ard Mhacha meaning "the height of Macha") is a county in Ulster in the north east of Ireland. It is the smallest, in area, of the six counties that form Northern Ireland and second smallest in Ulster. County Armagh is known as the "Orchard County" because the land is so fertile for apple-growing. Its county town is Armagh, in the middle of the county, although both Lurgan and Portadown, in the north of the county, each have larger populations. Traditionally the centre of Christianity in Ireland, both Roman Catholic and Church of Ireland leaders in Ireland are based in Armagh. The County also boasts a broad range of historical sites and remains and has served as the power centre of a number of important leaders down the through the ages.

County Armagh borders Lough Neagh to the north, County Down and Carlingford Lough to the east, County Tyrone to the north-west, and counties Louth and Monaghan, both in the republic, to the south and south-west respectively.

Ancient Armagh was the territory of the Ulaid (also known as Voluntii, Ultonians, Ulidians, Ulstermen) before the fourth century AD. It was ruled by the Red Branch, whose capital was Emain Macha (or Navan Fort) near Armagh. The site, and subsequently the city, were named after the goddess Macha. The Red Branch play an important role in the Ulster Cycle, as well as the Cattle Raid of Cooley. However, they were eventually driven out of the area by the Three Collas, who invaded in the 4th century and held power until the 12th. The Clan Colla ruled the area known as Airghialla or Oriel for these 800 years.

The chief Irish septs of the county were descendants of the Collas, the O'Hanlons and MacCanns, and the Ui Neill, the O'Neills of Fews. Armagh was divided into several baronies: Armagh was held by the O'Rogans, Lower Fews was held by O'Neill of the Fews, and Upper Fews were under governance of the O'Larkins, who were later displaced by the MacCanns. Oneilland East was the territory of the O'Garveys, who were also displaced by the MacCanns. Oneilland West, like Oneilland East, was once O'Neill territory, until it was then held by the MacCanns, who were Lords of Clanbrassil. Upper and Lower Orior were O'Hanlon territory. Tiranny was ruled by Ronaghan. Miscellaneous tracts of land were ruled by O'Kelaghan.

Armagh was the seat of St. Patrick, and in Roman Catholic tradition, continues to be his see. County Armagh is one of four counties of Northern Ireland to presently have a majority of the population from a Catholic community background, according to the 2001 census.

Armagh Observatory, founded in 1790 & Armagh Planetarium, a modern working astronomical research institute with a rich heritage.
Armagh Public Library on Abbey Street in Armagh City, especially rich in 17th and 18th century English books, including Dean Jonathan Swift's own copy of the first edition of his Gulliver's Travels with his manuscript corrections.
Navan Fort, now a tree ring mound which once housed the rulers of Ulster with modern interactive visitor centre.
Saint Patrick's Church of Ireland Cathederal, founded 445, seat of the Episcopalian Archbishop of Armagh, containing the grave of Brian Boru.
Saint Patrick's Roman Catholic Cathederal, commenced in 1838, seat of the Catholic Archbishop of Armagh, Primate of All Ireland, stands on a hill and dominates the local countryside.
Gosford Castle, mock medieval 19th century castle with substantial grounds.
Slieve Gullion, extinct volcano with crater lake, highest burial cairn in Ireland, views of 9 counties, with visitor centre at its foot.

Armagh Town
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Armagh County
Place: Ulster
People: 159,085
Speak: English
Area: 1,254 kmē
GPS: -6.654624, 54.349953