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.
NAME AND FORMER DIVISIONS
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.
FAMILIES AND HOUSES, 1911
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.
ANALYSIS OF THE CENSUS FOR COUNTY ARMAGH, 1821-1926
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%.
1871-1926(% of population)