Kilrea (County Derry)
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Kilrea is a parish in Coleraine with a population of 4,262 and 973 live in the town.
A very well known man called Saint Patrick visited the area before any buildings could take place. The people that own the land were called the Worshipful Company of Mercers. It was at the time of the plantation of Ulster. In the heart of Kilrea lies a diamond which states the honour of the men killed in the great war which was held in the 15th century. There is a well known song nowadays the Irish rover by the Dubliners and Shane McGowan, and one of the lines of the song is kitty the rose of Kilrea.
Spinning of yarn and weaving of linen are carried on throughout the district. Fairs for cattle and horses are held on the second Wednesday of the month, the general market in held every Wednesday and flax and linen market is held every alternative market day. Manorial counts are held occasionally and petty sessions are held on the first Monday of the month. The land is of fairly good quality and produce ample crops.
The glebe house was built in 1774 comprises of 351 acres. The church which consists of a bell turret on the western gable is a small edifice and arrangements are in progress for a larger one to be erected at the expense of the Mercers Company.
There are five public schools were about 550 children are educated, there are three private schoold were about 140 children attend.
On Census day (29 April 2001) there were 1,513 people living in Kilrea. Of these:
- 27.0% were aged under 16 years and 16.7% were aged 60 and over
- 49.0% of the population were male and 51.0% were female
- 69.3% were from a Catholic background and 29.8% were from a Protestant background
- 5.2% of people aged 16ﾖ74 were unemployed.
- The 1901 ﾖ 1911 census returns are available on line free of charge on the National Archives of Ireland website.
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