Crossmaglen has been recorded on maps since c. 1609 but until the late eighteenth century it was but a small collection of houses. A generation later and it is described as follows in Lewis’s Topographical Dictionary…

‘ .. a village in the parish of Creggan, the Barony of Upper Fews in the county of Armagh and province of Ulster, 8 miles NW of Dundalk on the road to Newtown-Hamilton, containing 545 inhabitants.

It comprises about 100 houses of which several are large and well-built … the surrounding scenery is strikingly diversified. In the vicinity is a small lake called Lough Maglen or Magherlin and there are numerous others in the surrounding district.

The slate quarries here were formerly worked to some extent. A market for provisions is held on Fridays and there are fairs on the last Friday in every month for black cattle, horses, sheep and pigs.

A constabulary police station has been established in the village and a spacious and handsome RC church has been erected recently, the parochial chapel of a very extensive district called Lower Creggan. A dispensary was built by subscription in 1830.’

The name of the town is said to have its origin in a shebeen at the crossroads owned by one Owen Lennon (Crois Mhic Lionnain – Lennon’s Cross). Rocque’s map of 1790 depicts a large horse-racing course and a sizable cattle compound indicating the prosperity of its cattle fairs and markets.

The town has a long tradition as an agricultural market town and the local landlord Mr Ball built an impressive market house in the market square in 1811. To this day the town is famed for this and for its traditional music and its horse fair held in September.

… Cross in 1930s ? …

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