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Newtown Cunningham, sometimes spelled Newtowncunningham or abbreviated to Newton (Irish: An Baile Nua, meaning "new town"[2]), is a village in the Laggan district in the east of County Donegal, Ireland, located on the N13 road 18 km east of Letterkenny and 16 km west of Derry. The 2016 census reported a population of 1,080.[1]

Newtown Cunningham

An Baile Nua
Newtown Cunningham is located in Ireland
Newtown Cunningham
Newtown Cunningham
Location in Ireland
Coordinates: 54°59′53″N 7°30′50″W / 54.998°N 7.514°W / 54.998; -7.514Coordinates: 54°59′53″N 7°30′50″W / 54.998°N 7.514°W / 54.998; -7.514
CountyCounty Donegal
 • Dáil ÉireannDonegal
10 m (30 ft)
 • Total1,080
Time zoneUTC+0 (WET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+1 (IST (WEST))
Irish Grid ReferenceC285176



The area of Newtown Cunningham was historically known as Culmacatrain.[3]

Like nearby Manorcunningham, the village takes its name from John Cunningham, originally from Kilbirnie, Ayrshire, in Scotland, who was among the settlers granted lands in County Donegal during the Plantation of Ulster. The village's architecture includes stately Anglo-Irish "big houses", now known as the Manse and the Castle, which reflect the village's colonial and Presbyterian history.

Economy and CommunityEdit

Newtowncunningham's long Main Street once formed part of the busy N13 trunk road connecting Letterkenny with Derry. A bypass diverted the N13 around the village in 1985. Many of the village's businesses either closed or moved to locations along the bypass, gradually divesting the village of economic activity.

All Saints, the Catholic church in Newtowncunningham.

New residential developments have recently being built at both ends of Newtown Cunningham, expanding the village's population by over 50% between 2002 and 2006. A variety of new retail and service outlets have also been built. A new industrial estate area located at the Letterkenny end of the village contains a number of large retail outlets.

Newtown Cunningham is located close to Blanket Nook, a wetland area that is a wintering site for the rare whooper swan. The bird sanctuary is one of many tourist attractions in the surrounding area, which also include Grianan of Aileach and the sixteenth-century Burt Castle. Sallybrook was the former railway station near the town.


  • Newtown Cunningham is served by bus services both from Lough Swilly and Bus Éireann. Both bus services use the main street as part of their Derry to Letterkenny route, and Bus Éireann's Derry to Galway service also stops in the village.

From April 2014, Lough Swilly Buses ceased trading and so the only bus service which services Newtown Cunningham now is provided by Bus Éireann who serve Newtowncunningham with their Letterkenny to Derry/Derry to Letterkenny Bus Service Route Numbers 64 and 480.

As of 2018, Bus Eireann provides 11 daily buses passing through the village in both directions, either to Derry or to Letterkenny. The bus stop in the village is located adjacent to the Roman Catholic parish graveyard on the Main Street.[4][5]

Newtowncunningham Church of Ireland.


The population is largely Roman Catholic, with significant Presbyterian and Church of Ireland presences, and churches for each.

Scoil Cholmcille, a new Catholic primary (national) school, was completed in 1983. In 1986, the Pairc Colmcille sports ground was opened. In the late 1990s, the existing Catholic church in the centre of the village was demolished and the construction began on a replacement church, St. Peter's Bark, which opened in 1999.

The Columban Hall on the main street hosts many events throughout the year, such as festivals, concerts, and car boot sales.

The local Orange Lodge, Newtown Cunningham LOL1063, meet regularly in the Orange Hall on main street and celebrated their centenary in 2011. There is also an Apprentice Boys Club and an accordion band which meet in the Orange Hall. The hall is used by various community groups throughout the year as well as hosting an Annual Remembrance Day Service and variety concerts.

In September 2014 the orange hall was destroyed by fire in an arson attack on the building. In July 2017 work began to rebuild the hall, with the hope that it would be open in 2019.[7][8][9]

The Newtown Cunningham's Presbyterian Church was formed in 1830. The Church building was built in one year by voluntary labour. Newtown Cunningham Presbyterian Church was united with Crossroads from 1957 until 1974 and is now united with Ray.


  1. ^ a b "Census 2016 Sapmap Area: Settlements Newtowncunningham". Central Statistics Office (Ireland). Retrieved 2018-06-08.
  2. ^ "An Baile Nua/Newtown Cunningham". Placenames Database of Ireland. Government of Ireland - Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and Dublin City University. Retrieved 2018-06-08.
  3. ^ Placenames Database of Ireland
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Newtown Cunningham station" (PDF). Railscot - Irish Railways. Retrieved 2007-11-22.
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External linksEdit