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The local area guide to living in Kells

Kells is a village located in County Antrim, close to the large town of Ballymena. The village has a long and rich history dating back to 480AD, where a Christian settlement took place. By 500AD, a Monastery had been formed. The area is known as Kells and Connor. The village of Connor neighbours and shares institutions with Kells. An old stone bridge that crosses the river of Kells Water acts as a division between the two villages.

It is believed that Kells and Connor was a large and complex settlement during the Early Christian period. This is due to archaeological and written sources being found, which also suggest that monastic and non-religious societies coexisted here. In 1315, Edward Bruce and his army invaded the area, defeating Richard Óg de Burgh’s Connor army, which was sacked as a consequence. An impressive Augustinian Abbey was the focus of an Augustinian community during the Middle Ages in Kells, up until the Abbey burnt down in the early 17th Century.

Information about the local residents

The 2011 and most recent census reports that Kells and Connor’s population had increased since the previous census to 2053. These 2053 locals reside in 808 households. The North Antrim statistics show that Kells is among the wards with the lowest claims for unemployment benefit at 2.8%, which could be a result of Kells boasting a high proportion of students in higher education aged 16 and over compared to other North Antrim wards.

Kells has one of the lowest crime rates in North Antrim, helping its residents feel safe and comfortable. Just like most of Northern Ireland, the main religion practiced is Christianity.

Nearby schools

There is a wide range of educational facilities in and around Kells and Connor. In the village is the Kells and Connor Primary, who in their most recent inspection were awarded with a ‘Very Good’ rating in regards to their achievements and standards. Slightly further afield, just a 5-minute drive away, is Carnaghts Primary School, who received a ‘Very Good’ rating across the board in their most recent inspection.

There are no senior schools within the village itself, however there are several in Ballymena which is about a 10-minute drive away. For fantastic facilities in all areas, including both learning and sport, look no further than St Louis Grammar School, and also nearby is Ballymena Academy, which offers superb pastoral care, catering for the needs of all their students.

Getting around

There are limited transport links within Kells and Connor itself, but with the town of Ballymena so close it is easy to find public transport, with a range of buses travelling to nearby towns and villages, there is also a 50-minute train journey available from Ballymena to Belfast, or a 1-hour bus journey if preferred. For drivers it’ll take just 10 minutes to reach Ballymena, or in the other direction the journey by road to Belfast it will be just over 30 minutes.

Local shops

Despite being just a village there are some convenient amenities in Kells, including a value supermarket, local pharmacy, petrol station with Spar, and even a hot tub shop! Mainstream and wider-renowned outlets can be find nearby in Ballymena with the option of two shopping arcades open to the public.

In the village of Kells there is a highly rated restaurant with a great atmosphere. The Carrie Restaurant offers an excellent menu, and despite not having an alcohol licence allows you to take your own if that’s what you desire. For wilder or varied nights on the town, Ballymena has pubs, bars and restaurants of all kinds.

Whilst every effort has been taken to ensure the above information is up to date, some inaccuracies may occur. If you notice any inaccuracies please contact

All information was correct at time of publication and is provided in good faith.