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Living in Randalstown: The Local Area Guide
Randalstown is located in Country Antrim and lies between the larger towns of Antrim and Toome. It sprang up during the 16th century as a settlement within the townland of Dunmore and was named after Randal MacDonnell, the 1st Marquess and 2nd Earl of Antrim. The town has a strong history as a centre for both the iron and linen industries, and there is a memorial to this in the middle of the town that is made from items salvaged from the now defunct Old Beach Linen Company, and the wind turbine that was used to generate electricity for the town. Another important landmark in the town is a beautiful disused railway viaduct, which now forms part of the scenic River Maine pathway. The town has a small selection of independent shops, a café, a butchers and a library.
At the last count in 2011, Randalstown had a population of 5,099 people, up only marginally from the 4,956 people counted during the 2001 census. In the earlier census, 25.7% of people fell into the 16 and under bracket and 15.5% were aged 60 and above. 70.1% of people said they were from a Catholic background, and 27.7% were from a Protestant background.
Randalstown Central Primary School caters for children aged 4-10 and was praised in a recent inspection by the Education Training Inspectorate as having a ‘very good’ provision for English and literacy. Maine Integrated Primary School was classed as ‘very good’, as was Mount St. Michael’s Primary School.
St Benedict’s College is the local secondary school; a co-educational facility for pupils aged 11-16, and was rated in its last report as being ‘very good’.
Randalstown railway station was closed in 1950 and all that remains is the now defunct viaduct. The nearest station is now at Antrim, which is just over 5 miles away. Randalstown has a good bus service that runs through the town and to the surrounding areas and one service runs directly to Belfast, a journey of an hour and ten minutes. Randalstown sits on the A6, near to the junction of the M22, which runs to Glengormley and Belfast to the east, and becomes the A6 to the west, running to Castledawson. The nearest airport is Belfast International, which runs regular services to Europe and other international destinations.
Amenities and shopping
Randalstown doesn’t have a huge amount of shops, but there are enough convenience stores to make sure that your everyday needs are taken care of, as well as a sweet shop, an electrical repairs store, a bridal wear shop, a butchers and a greengrocer. There are plenty of pubs to choose from, including the Black Bull Brasserie which serves food, and Marrian’s Bar, which is described as a ‘warm, welcoming pub’, as well as a café called The Front Room which is housed in an old forge and is perfect for light meals and coffee.
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