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Ballymena (from Irish: An Baile Meánach, meaning "the middle townland", Irish pronunciation: [ən̪ˠ ˈbˠalʲə ˈmʲaːn̪ˠəx]) is a town in County Antrim, and the eighth largest in Northern Ireland. It is part of the Borough of Mid and East Antrim. It had a population of 29,551 people at the 2011 Census.The town is built on land given to the Adair family by King Charles I in 1626, on the basis that the town holds two annual fairs and a free Saturday market in perpetuity. As of 2018, the Saturday market still runs. It is a popular shopping hub within Northern Ireland and is home to Ballymena United F.C.
Ballymena incorporates an area of 632 square kilometres (244 square miles) and is home to large villages such as Cullybackey, Galgorm, Ahoghill and Broughshane. The town used to host Ireland's largest one-day agricultural show at the Ballymena Showgrounds. The town centre has many historic buildings. The Town Hall was built in 1924 on the site of the old Market House, and was refurbished in 2007 at a cost of roughly £20 million.
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