Armagh

Armagh

County Armagh derives its name from the forest hill where the ancient Celtic goddess Macha died on Macha's Height or Ard Macha. It was once the centre for the High Kings of Ulster and is now the ecclesiastic capital of Ireland.

Armagh is one of the six counties of Northern Ireland and is situated on the border with the Republic. The mountainous area of South Armagh along this border is staunchly nationalist and during the Troubles was an area of strong support for the IRA, earning the region the nickname of Bandit Country.

However, Armagh is also known by friendlier names, the fertile region of the north east of the county is known as the Orchard of Ireland, famed for its strawberries and apples and the people of Armagh call the county God's Country.

It was in this county that St Patrick chose to build his principle church in what is now Armagh City and has ever since been the seat of both the Catholic and Protestant Archbishops of Ireland. Close by is Navan fort, an ancient hill fort of Ulster's High Kings and in the grounds of the Protestant Cathedral in Armagh City, the last High King of all Ireland; Brian Boru, is buried.

To the north of Armagh is Lough Neagh, the largest lake on the island of Ireland.

Popular names of Armagh include, McCann, Quinn, Murphy, Donnelly, O'Hare and Campbell.

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