Ligoniel lies on the north west periphery of Belfast, about three miles from the city centre. Its geological setting gives it the name Lag an Aoil, ‘hollow of the lime’, from the limestone hollow of Wolf Hill. The name Wolf Hill originated as the last wolf in Ireland is said to have been shot there by a farmer in 1692.
Ligoniel is separated from the rest of the city on the south and east by the Protestant residential areas of Ballysillan and Glencairn, and on the north and west by the hills. The village was founded expressly to produce linen and as the traditional industry declined, it was designated a Neighbourhood Renewal Area, which “experiences the most severe multiple deprivation”.