Emigration and Education Statistics, 1931, Co. Armagh

Armagh an inland county in the province of Ulster,it is bounded in the north by Lough Neagh and Co. Tyrone; on the east by county Down; on the south by county Louth; and on the west by counties Monaghan and Tyrone. The length of county Armagh from north to south 33 miles; and it’s breadth from east to west is 21 miles.



The name of the county is derived from the City of Armagh, and belongs to pagan times. The oldest form is Ard Mhaca, or Macha’s height – Macha being a semi mythical heroine, the foundress of the palace of Emania, 300 years B.C.
The county formed part of the ancient kingdom of Oriel. The eastern part of this kingdom called Oirthera (meaning “eastern people”) was the territory of the O’Hanlons, and the name is preserved in that of the Baronies of Orior. The old territory of Hy Niallain, is now represented in name and position by the Baronies of O’Neilland. On the shore of Lough Neagh, round the mouth of the Bann was situated the ancient district of Hy Brassil or Clanbrassil.


The northern part of the county is flat, with a good deal of bog. The greater part of the rest consists of gentle hills with fertile valleys between. Towards the south it becomes more hilly culminating in Slieve Gullion. Limestone was quarried plentifully round Armagh city, the finer part was good marble.

The chief mountains with their heights in feet are the following: Slieve Gullion (1,893). The highest points of the Newry mountains, 2 miles west of Newry are Camlough (1,385) separated from Slieve Gullion by a deep valley and Ballymacdermott (1,019). The Fews mountains form a long low range of which Deadman’s Hill (1,178), Carrigatuke or Armaghbreague (1,200) Darigry (1,093), Tullyneill (1,014) and Mullyash (in Co. Monaghan) (1,034) all lie near Newtown Hamilton. Vicar’s Carn (819) is 3 miles west of Markethill. Three miles south of Newry is Fathom Mountain (820); and at the extreme south east belonging partly to Co. Louth is Anglesey (1,349). The highest of the low hills on the south round Forkhill is Slievebrack (890).
The principle rivers are the Upper Bann, which flows for 12 miles through the county, from Carrick Blacker to where it enters Lough Neagh. The Blackwater, flowing into Lough Neagh, forms, for nearly all of its course, the boundary between counties Armagh and Tyrone. The Callan flowing by Armagh city and the Tall river join and enter the Blackwater below Charlemont. The Cusher formed by the junction of the Creggan and Blackwater, joins the Bann above Portadown. The White River flows through Newtown Hamilton, and in its course takes the names of Cullyhanna, Creggan and the Castletown (in Louth) , entering the sea at Dundalk.

North and west of Crossmaglen are the following lakes: Ross & St. Peter’s (both partly belonging to Monaghan); Lough Patrick, Kiltyban, Lisleitrim and Cullyhanna. Camlough lies between Camlough Mountain and Slieve Gullion. Clay Lake is near Keady; bordering on Lough Neagh are Lough Gullion, Derrylileagh, Derryadd and Annagriff.
The Newry canal skirts the county on the east.


There were 25,363, families in the county according to the 1911 Census for Ireland, the average number in each family being 4.23. The number of ‘inhabited houses’ was 25,532, with an average of 4.26 persons to each house. The Special Inmates of Public institutions are omitted from these figures.

There were in the county 17,955 ‘Occupiers’ or ‘Heads of Families’ who were in occupation of less than five rooms, this was 70.8% of the total for the whole county. Of these 281, or 1.1% occupied one room; 4,293 or 16.9% occupied two rooms; 6,061 or 23.9%, occupied three rooms; and 7,320 or 28.9%% were in occupation of four rooms.

There were 157 tenements in the county, in which the room had only one occupant at that time; 103 cases where the room had two, three or four occupants; 21 cases in which there were five, six or seven occupants and four cases where the occupants of one room exceeded 7 in number, including one case where nine persons occupied the same room.


Year Males Females Total
1821 96,075 101,352 197,427
1831 107,521 112,613 220,134
1841 113,892 118,501 232,383
1851 95,717 100,367 196,084
1861 91,558 98,528 190,086
1871 86,117 93,143 179,250
1881 77,683 85,494 163,177
1891 68,370 74,919 143,289
1901 59,773 65,619 125,392
1911 58,578 61,713 120,291
1926 52,609 56,461 110,070


1911, there were in the county 98,742 people aged 9 years
and upwards; of these 81,654 or 82.7% could read and write;
5,810 or 5.9% could read only; and 11,278 or 11.4% were illiterate.
As that census was the first for which the age for consideration
had been raised from 5 years to 9 years, no comparison can
be made with figures from earlier censuses. But – the percentage
of those of five years and upwards who were unable to read
and write in 1891 was 18.6%. By 1901 this figure was listed
as 16.0% and in 1911 had fallen to 14%.

SPEAKING (1861-1911)

of people
1861 1871 1881 1891 1901 1911
2 2 0 36 21 249
& English
3,484 4,485 2,792 6,851 3,903 8,716
3,486 4,487 2,792 6,887 3,924 8,965
of population
2.3 3.6 2.4 4.2 2.2 4.7

1871-1926(% of population)

Religion 1871 1881 1891 1901 1911 1926
Presbyterian 15.8 16.00 16.00 16.02 15.77 15.4
of Ireland
32.50 32.70 32.20 32.64 32.45 32.1
47.50 46.40 46.10 45.18 45.33 45.4
Methodist 2.60 3.00 3.70 4.07 4.20 4.40
Others 1.6 1.9 2.0 2.09 2.25 2.7


1861 1871 1881 1891 1901 1911
29,496 17,674 19,603 20,577 7,208 8,408