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Coordinates: 54°10′34″N 6°20′56″W / 54.176°N 6.349°W / 54.176; -6.349

Newry
Irish: Iúr Cinn Trá / an tIúr
Gap of the North
Newry Town Hall Small.jpg
Newry's Town Hall from the Armagh side of the Clanrye River
Newry is located in Northern Ireland
Newry

 Newry shown within Northern Ireland
Population 27,430 Census 2001
Irish grid reference J085265
    - Belfast 38 mi (61 km)  
    - Dublin 67 mi (108 km)  
District Newry and Mourne
County County Down
County Armagh
Country Northern Ireland
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town NEWRY
Postcode district BT34, BT35
Dialling code 028
Police Northern Ireland
Fire Northern Ireland
Ambulance Northern Ireland
EU Parliament Northern Ireland
UK Parliament Newry and Armagh
South Down
Website [1]
List of places: UK • Northern Ireland • Down

Newry (from the Irish: Iúr Cinn Trá meaning "Yew at the strand's head" — often shortened to an tIúr) is the fourth-largest city in Northern Ireland and eighth in Ireland. The River Clanrye, which runs through the city, forms the historic border between County Armagh and County Down: Newry was included entirely in the latter by the Local Government (Ireland) Act 1898. It is 34 miles (55 km) from Belfast and 67 miles (108 km) from Dublin. Newry had a population of approximately 27,430 at the 2001 Census,[1][2] while Newry and Mourne Council Area had a population of 87,058.[3] Newry was founded in 1144 alongside a Cistercian monastery and is one of Northern Ireland's oldest towns.

The city of Newry is one of the constituent cities of the Dublin-Belfast corridor and sits at the entry to the Gap of the North, close to the border with the Republic of Ireland. It grew as a market town and a garrison and became a port in 1742 when it was linked to Lough Neagh by the first summit-level canal in Britain or Ireland. In March 2002, as part of Queen Elizabeth's Golden Jubilee celebrations, Newry was granted city status alongside Lisburn.[4] Despite being the fourth largest city in Northern Ireland, however, it is not the fourth largest settlement. Newry was an important centre of trade in early Ireland because of its position between Belfast and Dublin. Newry has a reputation as one of the best provincial shopping-towns in the north of Ireland, with the Buttercrane Centre and The Quays attracting large numbers of shoppers from as far away as Cork.[5]

Newry's hinterland was predominantly Irish-speaking until the early 20th century and today the city has a vibrant Irish language community, with one of the highest concentrations of Irish speakers not only in the north but throughout Ireland.

In 2006 Newry topped the league of house prices increases across the whole United Kingdom over the last decade, as prices in the city had increased by 371% since 1996.[6] The city itself has become markedly more prosperous in recent years. Unemployment has reduced from over 26% in 1991 to scarcely 2% in 2008.[7]

Since the inception of the global financial crisis of 2008-2009, shoppers from the Republic of Ireland have increasingly been crossing the border to Newry in order to buy cheaper goods. This owes to a combination of factors: the harsh budget in the Republic of Ireland in October 2008; the growing strength of the euro against the pound sterling and VAT reductions in the United Kingdom, compared with increases in the Republic of Ireland. This remarkable increase in cross-border trade has become so widespread that it has lent its name to a general phenomenon known as the Newry effect. In December 2008, The New York Times described Newry as "the hottest shopping spot within the European Union’s open borders, a place where consumers armed with euros enjoy a currency discount averaging 30 percent or more".[8]

However the increased flow of trade has led to resultant tailbacks, sometimes several kilometers long, on approach roads from the south. This has created huge traffic and parking problems in Newry and the surrounding area. It has also become a political issue, with some politicians in the Republic of Ireland claiming that such cross-border shopping is "unpatriotic".[9]

Contents

Notable buildings

Catholic Cathedral of SS.Patrick and Colman, Newry
Saint Patrick's Church of Ireland, Newry

The Cathedral of SS. Patrick and Colman on Hill Street was built in 1829 at a cost of £8,000. The structure, which consists of local granite, was designed and built by Thomas Duff, arguably Newry's greatest architect to date.[10] Incidentally, Thomas Duff also was the architect for the Cathedral in Dundalk, a town just over the border in County Louth, and it is said that he mixed up the plans for both cathedrals and sent Dundalk Cathedral to the builders in Newry, and Newry Cathedral to the builders in Dundalk.

The town hall is notable for being built over the River Clanrye which is the historic boundary between the counties of Down and Armagh.

The city also boasts a museum, an arts centre and, in recent years, has seen a number of art galleries being opened.

The impressive Craigmore Viaduct lies just north of the city on the Northern Ireland Railways Belfast-Dublin mainline. The bridge was designed by Sir John O’Neill with construction beginning in 1849. The bridge was formally opened in 1852. The viaduct consists of eighteen arches the highest being 126 feet, the highest viaduct in Ireland. It is around a quarter of a mile long and was constructed from local granite. The Enterprise Train link from Belfast to Dublin crosses the bridge. Every week the Newry Reporter newspaper highlights a historic building in Newry and the surrounding area, giving a brief outline of its history.

Saint Patrick's church was built in 1578 on the instructions of Nicholas Bagenal, who was granted the monastery lands by Edward VI, and is considered to be the first Protestant church in Ireland.

Administration

The headquarters of Newry and Mourne District Council are in Newry. The area has a majority nationalist population, leading to a council dominated by Sinn Féin and the Social Democratic and Labour Party, but there are some Ulster Unionist and Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) councillors and one councillor from the Green Party. Newry and Mourne District Council is scheduled to be merged with the adjoining Down District Council in 2011 as part of the reorganization of local government in Northern Ireland.

History

Marcus Square, Newry

The English version of the name of the city comes from the original Irish Iúr Chinn Trá (in older spelling, Iubhar Chinn Trábha), which translates as "the yew at the head of the strand", which relates to an apocryphal story that Saint Patrick planted a yew tree there in the 5th century. In modern Irish, the full name of the town is rarely used; instead it is abbreviated to An tIúr pronounced "An Te~lé-ur".

The small medieval town was enlarged in 1142 with the rebuilding of an old monastery, and there is strong evidence of continual human habitation in the area from 6th century. The first monastery only lasted until 1162, when it was burned to the ground, it was later restored to some degree & enlarged by a Cistercian monastery. This monastery itself was later converted to a collegiate church in 1543, before being surrendered to the crown in 1548.

Sir Henry Bagenal, marshal of the Army in Ireland, took over the site around 1550, it is said he later built a castle in Newry but there is not one scrap of documented evidence to prove this. . The remains of the original Cistercian monastery were still standing when Bagenal acquired the land and it may well have been the abbot's house that Bagenal proclaimed as his castle.Locating the Abbots house would be the key to this story, The site was said to consist of a 'church, steeple, and cemetery, chapter- house, dormitory and hall, two orchards and one garden, containing one acre, within the precincts of the college'. The remains of parts of the great Cistercian church of Newry can be found today on Castle Street, near to the LIDL store, on what was once the 2nd site of McCann's Bakery.

A rental roll, dated 1575, provides a unique insight into life in the town at the time. It listed the names of the tenants in 'the High Street', 'tenements within the Fort' and the Irish Street without the Fort'. These three distinct areas also appear in a map of the same time, along with a fake drawing of the castle.

During the Williamite War, the forces of King James II set fire to the town in 1689, while retreating from William.

The town was rebuilt shortly afterwards, and its fortunes changed dramatically. A further period of economic prosperity, evidence of which can be seen in the many fine buildings and public places that can still be seen today.[11]

By 1881 the population of Newry had reached 15,590.[1]

Newry Urban District Council was unusual in that during the period from the 1920s to the 1960s it was one of only a handful of councils in Northern Ireland which had a majority of councillors from the Catholic/Nationalist community. (The others were Strabane UDC and a handful of rural district councils.) The reason according to Michael Farrell was that this community formed such a large majority in the town, around 80% of the population, that it was impossible to gerrymander. Also an oddity was that for a time it was controlled by the Irish Labour Party, after the left wing of the Northern Ireland Labour Party defected to them in the 1940s.[12]

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The Troubles

Newry saw a number of violent incidents during the conflict known as the Troubles. These were ongoing into the late 90's and even now trouble such as bomb scares are still being called, Disturbing the population of Newry.

See also: The Troubles in Killeen, for information on incidents at the border and customs post at Newry on the border with the Republic of Ireland and close to Newry. The British Army moved in during the 1950s. In 2003, the hilltop watch towers were taken down. The Army finally withdrew from the area in 25 June 2007 when they closed their final base at Bessbrook.[13][14] As there are no garrisons in the area the Army has no official presence in Newry or South Armagh since the end of Operation Banner.

Notable people

Lauren Bannon a cousin of Banjo Bannon presenter for PlayTV Ireland and model with Compton Model Agency

Geography

A view over Newry, from near the city centre
The view from "the rocks" on the Windmill Road in December 2008

Newry lies in the most south-eastern part of both Ulster and Northern Ireland. Approximately half of the city lies in County Down and the other half in County Armagh, however officially lies completely in Down since the Local Government (Ireland) Act 1898.

The city sits in a valley, nestled between the Mourne Mountains to the east, and the Ring of Gullion to the south-west, both of which are designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Newry also lies in the shadow of the Cooley Mountains to the south east. The Clanrye River runs through the centre of town, parallel to the canal. The city also lies at the extreme northernmost end of Carlingford Lough, where the canal enters the sea at Victoria Locks.

Sport

Association Football (soccer)

Newry City F.C. play at the Showgrounds in the city.

GAA

Rugby Union

  • Newry RFC play their home games at Telford Park on the outskirts of the city.

Transport

  • The Newry Canal opened in 1742. It ran for 18 miles to Lough Neagh. In 1777, Newry was ranked the fourth largest port in Ireland. Some surviving 18th and 19th century warehouses still line the canal, and now many houses, shops and restaurants.
  • In 1885 an electric tramway was opened between Newry and Bessbrook.
  • MacNeill's Egyptian Arch is a railway bridge located near Newry. It was selected for the design of the British One Pound coin to represent Northern Ireland for 2006.
  • Newry is served by an Ulsterbus bus station, located in the city centre, that offers local, regional and cross-border services.
  • A Northern Ireland Railways station, just off the Camlough road, offers cross border services on the Dublin-Belfast line. Planning permission for the construction of a new station, to the east of the current station, was granted in May 2006 and the new station opened on September 7 2009.
  • Newry is on the main M1/A1 route from Dublin to Belfast. The road is of high-quality dual carriageway/motorway standard on the Southern side, with a similar high-quality dual carriageway from the Border to near Newry. The single-carriageway bypass of Newry is being upgraded to high-quality dual carriageway standard for completion by 2010. The rest of the A1 from Newry to the M1 motorway (Northern Ireland) is conventional dual-carriageway. Newry suffers from very heavy traffic notably with shoppers coming from across the border.[22]

2001 Census

Although officially a city, Newry is classified as a large town by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) (ie with population between 18,000 and 75,000 people). On Census day (29 April 2001), there were 27,433 people living in Newry. Of these:

  • 26.2% were aged under 16 years and 16.0% were aged 60 and over
  • 48.5% of the population were male and 51.6% were female;
  • 89.6% were from a Roman Catholic background and 9.4% were from a Protestant background.[23]
  • 5.5% of people aged 16–74 were unemployed.[24]
  • 99% of people are White European.

Education

Churches

Housing areas

  • Altnaveigh
  • Ashton Heights
  • Barcroft Park
  • Carlingford Park
  • Carnagat
  • Ashfield Avenue
  • Carnagh Park
  • Carrivemaclone
  • Courtenay Hill
  • Daisy Hill Gardens
  • Damolly
  • Derrybeg Park
  • Drumalane
  • Drumcashellone
  • Drumgullion
  • Dublin Road
  • Glen Hill
  • High Street
  • Hollywood Grove
  • Liska Road
  • Loanda
  • Monk's Hill
  • Mourne View Park
  • Old Warrenpoint Road
  • Parkhead
  • Shandon Park
  • Rooney's Meadow

See also

References

  1. ^ a b http://www.planningni.gov.uk/index/policy/dev_plans/devplans_az/bnm_2015/bnm_district_proposals/bnm_proposals_newry/bnm_newry_city/bnm_newrycity_background.htm
  2. ^ http://www.newrychamber.com/areainfo/index.asp
  3. ^ NI Planning Service: District Proposal For Newry City
  4. ^ BBC report
  5. ^ http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/david-mckittrick-the-great-nappy-rush-no-not-rash-1219998.html
  6. ^ Halifax House Price Survey
  7. ^ Article by Frances McDonnell, Belfast Briefing, page 21, Irish Times, 9 December 2008, quoting Dr Gerard O'Hare
  8. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/18/world/europe/18ireland.html
  9. ^ Irish Times, 9 December 2008, op cit
  10. ^ "Newry Cathedral". Newry and Mourne District Council. http://www.newryandmourne.gov.uk/tourism/attractions/historical/newry_cathedral.asp. Retrieved 2008-06-25.  
  11. ^ Down County Museum
  12. ^ Michael Farrell Northern Ireland: The Orange State
  13. ^ http://news.bbc.co.uk/mobile/bbc_news/northern_ireland/623/62355/story6235514.shtml?=
  14. ^ http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/DefenceNews/DefencePolicyAndBusiness/SoldiersDepartBessbrookMillForTheFinalTime.htm
  15. ^ Culture Northern Ireland
  16. ^ Taylor & Francis Group; Cathy Hartley, Susan Leckey (2003). A Historical Dictionary of British Women. Routledge. pp. 186. ISBN 1857432282. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=pDtEe4FKolUC.  
  17. ^ Gerard Murphy on IMDB
  18. ^ IMDB entry for Michael Legge
  19. ^ IMDB entry for Kieran Cunningham
  20. ^ Newry Democrat
  21. ^ http://www.belfastcity.gov.uk/ulsterhall/faqs.asp
  22. ^ "Northern Ireland Assembly debates, 9 March 2009, 2:45 pm". mySociety. http://www.theyworkforyou.com/ni/?id=2009-03-09.5.51. Retrieved 2009-12-01.  
  23. ^ Data supplied by Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency
  24. ^ NI Neighbourhood Information Service

External links


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