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Living in Irvinestown: The local area guide
The small town of Irvinestown is situated within Fermanagh and Omagh. The town was founded during the Plantation in 1618 by Sir Gerald Lowther and was originally named Lowtherstown. Ownership then passed to the Irvine’s of Dumfries which led to its change of name to Irvinestown. The town is built around a wide main street, in keeping with the plantation tradition. The street still hosts a vibrant market throughout the year and the famous ‘Lady of The Lake Festival’, a large carnival and celebration that lasts 10 days.
The most notable building in Irvinestown is the ruined 18th Century church. Today, the town is well known for its equestrian connections with the Necarne Castle Equestrian School located nearby. Tourists and locals alike are free to admire the scenic beauty of the nearby Castle Archdale Country Park; with lakeshores and woodland walking paths and cycling tracks.
Irvinestown boasts past famous residents, including Mrs Delany, an 18th Century Biographer and wife of Patrick Delany, Rector of Irvinestown and later the Bishop of Down. Mrs Delany was well known on the London Literary Scene, with connections to the likes of Jonathon Swift and Alexander Pope. Her biography offers insight and a written record of the Anglo-Irish gentry and the literary scene of Britain at the time.
As of the 2011 Census, Irvinestown has an estimated population of around 2,588 with a mean age of 36. Around 23% of the population are under the age of16 and approximately 15% are of pensionable age. Of the population aged 16-74, 54.83% are in paid employment and 6.29% unemployed. The majority of the population are within the C2 Social Grade, working as skilled manual workers.
The area is strongly rooted in Catholic values with the majority of the population having been raised in Catholicism according to the 2011 Census. Most of the remaining population, 23.03%, either belong to, or were brought up in, a Protestant or other Christian sect.
In terms of home ownership, the area ranks average with 59.25% of households being owner occupied and 36.23% are rented, leaving a fairly low percentage as social housing.
The area has relatively low rates of educational attainment. As of the 2011 Census, considering the population aged 16 and over, 19.24% had a degree or higher qualification. Irvinestown has a very low immigrant population, with 98.72% of the population from a white ethnic group, 31.11% have a British national identity, 33.66% Irish national identity and 36.71% of the population have a northern Irish national identity.
Sources: Northern Island Statistics and Research Agency
Irvinestown has a college and two primary schools. St Mary’s College is a Catholic Co-Educational College with an enrolment of 175 students aged 11-18 years. The College is proud to be in the heart of the community, working in close partnership with parents and carers to help all their pupils grow and develop. St Mary’s College is also a member of the Fermanagh Learning Community, consisting of several schools and colleges in County Fermanagh.
Irvinestown Primary School follows the requirements of the NI curriculum and aims to provide a broad and balanced curriculum for their students, giving every child the opportunity achieve success in learning.
St Paul’s Primary School is a Catholic school, passionate about the personal, social and moral development of their students as well as fostering strong Christian values for life.
The most popular way to travel around Irvinestown is by car, as public transport is quite limited. However, there are a few buses that stop in Irvinestown; the 83, 194 and 94A.
Amenities and Shopping
Irvinestown’s high street offers a great selection of independent stores ranging from craft shops to hardware stores. The quaint town also offers a few coffee shops and bakeries where you can enjoy freshly baked goods. In terms of night life, Irvinestown is mostly centred around traditional pubs, but also has a selection of lovely restaurants and bars.
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