MARKETHILL TOWN

Population: 1250 in 1991, 1224 in 1981, 1109 in 1971.

"Situated adjacent to but by-passed by the main Armagh-Newry (A28) Road some 7 miles from Armagh, Markethill is for its size an important rural service centre. It is a prosperous and busy settlement with several factories, a good range of shops and an important livestock market." (Armagh Area Plan 2004: Armagh District Council Area)

Settlement map

The town was described in 1838 in the Ordnance Survey Memoirs:

"The town of Markethill is situated in the diocese of Armagh, province of Ulster, county of Armagh, parish of Mullaghbrack, townland of Coolmillish and north east circuit of assize, on the mail coach road between Armagh and Newry, at the distance of nearly 5 and a half miles from the former and 11 and a half miles from the latter. Distance from Dublin 59 and a half Irish miles. Latitude [blank] north, longitude [blank] west. The following are its distances (in statute miles from the neighbouring towns): south east of Armagh 5 and a half miles, north west of Newry 11 and a half miles, south west of Tanderagee 6 miles, south by east of Richhill 5 miles, north east of Keady 8 and a half miles.

...The town consists of 1 principal street with an obtuse angle in the middle of its length, the upper half being in a direction north by west, the lower half lying south by west. At the obtuse angle above mentioned there is a row of houses on the Keady road which is sometimes called Keady Street, and at the lower of the southernmost extremity of the main street a short street lets off to the eastward (consisting principally of new houses) and its being the Newry road has given it the name of Newry Street (parish of Kilclooney). The breadth of the streets vary, it averages 60 feet and their lengths are as follows: Main Street 550 yards, Newry Street 285 yards, Keady Street 143 yards. Also Gray's Lane, a narrow lane also in the parish of Kilclooney, runs in a south easterly direction from the lower extremity of the main street for the distance of 176 yards.

...The principal public buildings in the town are a Presbyterian meeting house, 2 Methodist chapels, a court house, a police station.

...The greater number of the houses in Markethill are in tolerable order. The following is their number: 3-storey houses none, 2-storey houses 262, cabins and 1-storey 5, total 267. They are all built of unhewn stone and roughcast. The most respectable houses and shops are in the northern half of the main street. From the circumstance of the number of houses of unhewn stone not being roughcast and the rest for the greater part not cleanly whitewashed, the town presents upon the whole a ruinous and comfortless appearance.
...Trades and occupations in Markethill: surgeons 2, grocers 8, haberdashers 4, spirit dealers 22, painters and glaziers 1, watchmakers 1, bakers 2, jailors 1, shoemakers 3, hardware shops 1, nailors 1, wheelwright I, smiths 2, pawnbrokers 1, hotels 2, ironmonger 1, chandler 1, delf shops 2, gunpowder dealer 1, butchers 2, reed makers 1." (Ordnance Survey Memoirs 1835-38)

It was also described in The Parliamentary Gazetteer of Ireland (1846, vol. 2, p.735):


"A small Market and Post town in the Parishes of Mullabrack and Kilcluney, Barony of Lower Fews, Co.Armagh, Ulster. It stands on the road from Armagh to Newry, four and a half miles south by east of Richill, south south-west of Tandragee, five and a half miles south-east of Armagh, ten miles north north-west of Newry, and sixty miles north of Dublin. The surrounding country, though minutely subdivided into small holdings, is remarkable for the comfortable appearance of its cottages, the snug condition of its little farms, and the very improved, and in some respects, peculiar state of its agriculture, - the last in a great measure, the result of the spirited and enlightened exertions of Mr.Blacker, the land agent of Lord Gosford and Colonel Close. Nearly three miles west of the town, and forming a conspicuous feature in an extensive landscape, is the remarkable hill called the Vicar's Cairn, whose summit has an altitude of 814 feet above sea level. In the vicinity of the town is Drapier's Hill, celebrated in the writings of Dean Swift. Immediately adjacent to the town on the north and east, and to a certain extent closely and warmly sheltering it, is the handsome demesne of Gosford Castle, the seat of Lord Gosford, the proprietor of the town. The present mansion was built only three or four years ago, and is a large edifice, in the early style of the Castellated Baronial architecture. Bryandrum cottage adjoins the east side of the demesne; and other small seats are in the neighbourhood. The town has a bridewell, a neat courthouse, a good inn, and several well built houses. The bridewell is quite new, has sufficient accommodation for the wants of the district, and is kept in a very good and clean condition. Markethill is the station of the staff of the County Militia, and the seat of a court of petty sessions, and a fortnightly court of petty sessions. Fairs are held on the third Friday of every month. The Markethill dispensary is within the Armagh Poor Law Union, and serves for a district of 40,418 acres with a population of 23,924 and in 1839 it expended 139 13s, and administered to 2,115 patients. Area of the Mullabrack section of the town, 30 acres, of the Kilcluney section, 15 acres. Population of the whole in 1831, 1,043; in 1841, 1,424. Houses 276. Population in 1841 of Mullabrack section, 622, houses 118. Families employed chiefly in agriculture, 16; in manufactures and trade, 81; in other pursuits, 27. Families dependent chiefly on property and professions, 10; on the directing of labour, 84; on their own manual labour, 25; on means bot specified,5. Population in 1841 of the Kilcluney section, 802, houses 158. Families employed chiefly in agriculture, 54; Manufactures and trade, 94; other pursuits no specified, 30; property and professions, 3. Directing of labour, 81; on their own manual labour, 94; on means not specified, 0. "


In the accompanying audio recording, John McGrath talks about growing up in Newry Street, Markethill, and the colourful community life.

Photo of John McGrath in 2003.

Use the audio controller to listen to this talk, given in 2003.


In the accompanying audio recording, Tommy Wallace talks about the river beside Newry Street, Markethill (0mins 26s).

Photo of Tommy Wallace in 2013.

Use the audio controller to listen to this talk, given in 2013.


In the accompanying audio recording, Mary Loughran talks about growing up in Markethill (8mins 44s).

Photo of Mary Loughran in 2013.

Use the audio controller to listen to this talk, given in 2013.


In the accompanying recording, Noel Dalgleish talks about growing up and living in Markethill.

Photo of Noel Dalgleish, 2013.

Use the audio controller to listen to this talk, given in 2013.


In the accompanying recording, Trevor Dalzell talks about his family and Markethill.

Photo of Trevor Dalzell, 2013.

Use the audio controller to listen to this talk, given in 2013.


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