|Irish: Iúr Cinn Trá / an tIúr|
|Gap of the North|
Newry's Town Hall from the Armagh side of the Clanrye River
Newry shown within Northern Ireland
|Population||27,430 Census 2001|
|Irish grid reference|
|- Belfast||38 mi (61 km)|
|- Dublin||67 mi (108 km)|
|District||Newry and Mourne|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Postcode district||BT34, BT35|
|EU Parliament||Northern Ireland|
|UK Parliament||Newry and
|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, while Newry and Mourne Council Area had a population of 87,058. 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. 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.
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. The city itself has become markedly more prosperous in recent years. Unemployment has reduced from over 26% in 1991 to scarcely 2% in 2008.
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".
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".
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. 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
By 1881 the population of Newry had reached 15,590.
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.
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. 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.
Lauren Bannon a cousin of Banjo Bannon presenter for PlayTV Ireland and model with Compton Model Agency
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.
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:
Along with Lisburn, Newry received its Royal Charter as part of the Queen's Jubilee celebrations of 2002. The city has existed as a settlement for well over 850 years.
Newry is the major population centre in the south of Northern Ireland, and is near to the border with the Republic of Ireland. It is also a major transport hub, with convenient connections to the rest of the country. It is an area with an interesting recent history, and is an ideal base for exploration of the Mourne mountains. It is also a centre of culture and nightlife in its own right.
Newry is a relatively small city, and can easily be explored on foot. Taxis are widely available and charge a minimum fee of £3.50 within the city. Local buses run from about 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. and really aren't worth the effort.
After Belfast, Newry is arguably Northern Ireland's second finest location for shopping. The town boasts two shopping centres (The Quays and The Buttercrane) as well as a modest out-of-town shopping complex. The Quays also has a 9 screen cinema, showing the latest blockbuster movies. Newry has a 25 metre swimming pool and a sports complex, both of which have seen better days. There are also facilities for playing soccer, bowls and tennis. Newry also has a number of public parks and is surrounded by beautiful towns, the majestic Mourne Mountains and spectacular countryside.and has loads of carry out spots
Finding lunch should not prove a problem, as there are many good sandwich shops located on Hill Street and in The Quays Shopping Centre (people who live in Ireland will know to avoid O'Brien's in the Buttercrane).
Finding somewhere to eat in the evenings can be a challenge. Excellent restaurants (such as the original Soho Place and Tickle) seem to have an abnormally short life-span. Many places offer inexpensive and unremarkable fare, the most prominent being the Canal Court Hotel's bar snacks menu (best described as standard chain-pub food). There are a wide range of Chinese restaurants/takeaways and pizzerias, but remarkably few Indian restaurants. The number of pubs offering food has grown significantly in recent years.
Just one quick word of warning - food-wise, Newry is hardly a vegetarian's paradise. You have been warned.
For a city, Newry has a surprisingly small number of hotels. For those looking at the lower end of the scale, the Mourne Country Hotel often suffices, although the quality of services offered are continually degrading. More popular, not only with class and location, is the city's newest hotel - the Canal Court Hotel. This hotel offers a wide range of facilities, both for guests and conferences, and is currently encompassing a massive upgrade. Bed and Breakfasts are also in abundance throughout the city and its surrounding rural areas at decent rates.
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