Limavady is a market town in County Londonderry, Northern Ireland, overlooked by the mountains of Binevenagh and Benbradagh. It lies 17 miles east of Londonderry and 14 miles south west of Coleraine.
The Borough has a population of over 32,000 with 63% of the population living in the outlying coutry areas. It covers an area of 586 square kilometres and includes the valley of the River Roe. It stretches from the Sperrin Mountains in the south to Benone beach, a seven mile strand on the Atlantic coast.
In 1608, under King James I what became known as the Plantation of Ulster began. The period saw the arrival of settlers from England and Scotland and the building of walled towns designed in orderly patterns, unlike the clusters of huts that the Gealic Irish lived in.
The district of Limavady was granted to Sir Thomas Phillips in 1612. He commenced the building of the present ‘Newtownelimavady’ about a mile and a half north of an earlier O’Cahan settlement. The town was granted a borough charter in 1613. In 1870 the work ‘Newtown’ was officially dropped from the name. On 1st March 1989 Borough status was officially reinstated.
Limavady had an early association with the linen industry, but did not benefit from subsequent expansion of linen manufacturing in the 19th century; as a result it remained a modest sized market town until the late 20th century.
Limavady is birthplace to New Zealand Prime Minister William Massey. The archaeologically significant Broighter Gold collection was found in 1896. It is currently housed in the National Museaum in Dublin.
Jane Ross, author of the tune Londonderry Air, was born and lived in Limavady. A plaque is shown above her old house on Main Street and the Ross Grave is situated at Christ Church Parish Church cemetery, also on Main Street.
During the troubles in Northern Ireland, four people were killed in or near Limavady by the IRA. Two were members of the security forces and two were civilians who were killed by a bomb as they drove past the old RUC station, near the Town’s Orange Hall.