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Kilrea

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Kilrea is a village, townland, historic town and civil parish in County Londonderry, Northern Ireland. In Irish the words "Cill Ria" mean church on the hill, and that is due to the fact that St. Patrick's Church of Ireland sits on Church Street looking over the town. It is near the River Bann, which marks the boundary between County Londonderry and County Antrim. In the 2011 Census it had a population of 2,724 people.HistoryThere is a tradition that St Patrick visited the area during the fifth century, a story repeated recently in the book 'The Fairy Thorn' produced by Kilrea local historians. During the Plantation of Ulster Kilrea and the surrounding townlands were granted to the Worshipful Company of Mercers by King James I for settlement. Their headquarters in Ulster were at nearby Movanagher on the banks of the River Bann. Today Kilrea is a market town and commercial centre of the surrounding district. The village is centred on 'The Diamond' which includes the town's War Memorial erected in honour of Kilrea men killed in the Great War. The village is featured in the Orange song, Sprigs of Kilrea. It is also mentioned in the song Kitty the rose of Kilrea by The Irish Rover band.
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