Kircubbin, County Down

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Kircubbin Village from the air - - 1442596.jpg
Kircubbin is located in County Down
Location within County Down
Population(2011 Census)
CountryNorthern Ireland
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
PoliceNorthern Ireland
FireNorthern Ireland
AmbulanceNorthern Ireland
EU ParliamentNorthern Ireland
List of places
Northern Ireland
54°29′N 5°32′W / 54.483°N 5.533°W / 54.483; -5.533Coordinates: 54°29′N 5°32′W / 54.483°N 5.533°W / 54.483; -5.533

Kircubbin is a village and townland in County Down, Northern Ireland. It is on the shores of Strangford Lough, between Newtownards and Portaferry, in the Ards and North Down Borough. The village harbour contains leisure craft, yachts, and a sailing club. The village had a population of 1,153 people in the 2011 Census.[1]


The settlement was originally known as Kilcubin, which is thought to come from Irish Cill Ghobáin, meaning "St Goban's church". This later became Kirkcubbin, from the Ulster-Scots word for church, "kirk".[2][3]

Kircubbin and nearby Inishargy are mentioned in early medieval records. John de Courcy, a Norman knight who invaded Ulster, brought Benedictines from Stoke Courcy in Somerset and Lonlay in France, for whom he founded Black Abbey (St Andrews in Ards), near Inishargy in the 1180s.[4]

1798 Rebellion[edit]

The Rev. William Warwick, a Presbyterian minister in Kircubbin, was hanged in 1798 near his church, for the writing of seditious documents in support of the Irish Rebellion of 1798.[5]

The Troubles[edit]

Two significant incidents occurred during the Troubles. No-one was killed or injured in either attack. In 1974, St Mary Star of the Sea Church, Nunsquarter, was badly damaged by a bomb which was planted at the side door of the chapel. One man, a local joiner, who was working in the church hall adjacent to the church, left the premises shortly before the bomb went off. During 1988-1989, McKenna Community Centre on the outskirts of the village was bombed several times in the course of the troubles. The last attack on the centre, rumoured to have been carried out by Red Hand Commandos resulted in it being completely destroyed. The centre since then has been rebuilt and is still in use today.[citation needed]

Boys' Home abuse[edit]

In 2014 the Christian Brothers admitted to the physical and sexual abuse of boys in their care from 1951 to 1985 at the De La Salle Boys' Home, Rubane House, Kircubbin, often referred to as "Kircubbin Boys' Home"[6] or simply "Kircubbin", and issued an apology to its victims.[7][8]


2011 Census[edit]

In the 2011 Census Kircubbin had a population of 1,153 (471 households).[1]

2001 Census[edit]

Kircubbin is classified as a village by the NI Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) (i.e. with population between 1,000 and 2,250 people). On Census day (29 April 2001) there were 1,214 people living in Kircubbin. Of these:

  • 25.0% were aged under 16 years and 17.4% were aged 60 and over
  • 48.9% of the population were male and the other 51.1% were female
  • 66.8% were from a Catholic background and 31.2% were Protestant

For more details see: NI Neighbourhood Information Service


In 2013, Echlinville Distillery was granted the first licence to distil spirits in Northern Ireland in over 130 years.[9]


  1. ^ a b "Kircubbin". Census 2011 Results. NI Statistics and Research Agency. Archived from the original on 22 April 2015. Retrieved 22 April 2015.
  2. ^ Placenames NI
  3. ^ "Interview: William Carson" (PDF). The Ulster-Scots Language Society. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  4. ^ DeBreffny, D; Mott, G (1976). The Churches and Abbeys of Ireland. London: Thames & Hudson. pp. 60–61.
  5. ^ Sandford, Ernest (1976). Discover Northern Ireland. Belfast: NI Tourist Board. p. 196.
  6. ^ Northern Ireland Assembly: Inquiry into Historical Institutional Abuse Bill: De La Salle Order Briefing, 19 September 2012 "claims arising out of Kircubbin boys' home..."
  7. ^ The Guardian newspaper, 14 January 2014
  8. ^ Belfast Telegraph: Rubane House 'like Hell upon Earth' for 69-year-old branded a liar for reporting his abuse as boy, 9 October 2014
  9. ^ "Echlinville Distillery – Irish Whiskey News". Whisky Intelligence. 29 May 2013. Retrieved 8 January 2017.

External links[edit]