For other uses, see Newry (disambiguation).
Scots: Newrie[1][2][3]
Irish: Iúr Cinn Trá or An tIúr
Gap of the North

Top: Newry skyline, Middle: The Buttercrane, The Quays, Newry Town Hall, Bottom Drumalane Mill, Newry Cathedral
 Newry shown within Northern Ireland
Population 29,946 (2008 est)
Irish grid referenceJ085265
    Belfast 38 mi (61 km)  
    Dublin 67 mi (108 km)  
DistrictNewry, Mourne and Down
CountyCounty Armagh and County Down
CountryNorthern Ireland
Sovereign stateUnited 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 ParliamentNewry and Armagh
NI AssemblyNewry and Armagh and South Down.
List of places
Northern Ireland

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

Newry (/ˈnjʊəri/;[4] from Irish: An Iúraigh[5]) is a city in Northern Ireland, 34 miles (55 km) from Belfast and 67 miles (108 km) from Dublin. It had a population of 29,946 in 2011.[6][7][8]

Newry was founded in 1144 alongside a Cistercian monastery, although there are references to earlier settlements in the area. It is one of Ireland's oldest towns.

Newry is 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 built in Ireland or Great Britain. In 2002, as part of Queen Elizabeth's Golden Jubilee celebrations, Newry was granted city status along with Lisburn.[9]


While the modern interpretation of the Irish name is An tIúr (pronounced [ən̠ʲ tʲuːɾˠ]), which means "the yew tree" i.e. (Singular yew) . An tIúr is an abbreviation of Iúr Cinn Trá, which some say means "the yew tree at the head of the strand recent research by a Queens history undergraduate brings the latter part of this translation into dispute finding that the first properly recorded name of the ancient town comes to us from the period C.E 637 where it is seen as Iobhar Chinn Choice Mich Neachtain in the M.S (The Battle of Magh Rath) the latter part of which (Neach) appears many centuries later in the 1157 Newry Charter, he claims that the word Strand should be replaced by the Irish word Cuach which means a bowl or a basin-coch being the genitive of Ceann found in the C.E 637 name Iobhar Chinn Choice consequently the correct interpretation should read the Yew Tree at the Head of the Basin this basin which is well recorded in the annals is still in the town today situated where the Canal meets the great red brick mill North of Sugar Island. Sadly this recent (04/03/2016) analysis of the name brings us no closer to proving that Saint Patrick actually did plant a yew tree in the North East of the huge abbey in the 5th century.

The name was anglicized during the Colonial period to An Iúraigh, an oblique form of An Iúrach, which according to some means a grove of yews which apparently stood in the North East of the abbey amongst which according to a bard verse a thousand poets lived for three years during the reign of King Maelcoba whose name signifies the plain of Magh Cobha where Newry was situated in these early times while this grove of yews is also well recorded in the annals the exact site has yet to be discovered.

The Irish name Cathair an Iúir (City of Newry) is now seen on some bilingual signs around the City appearing as a welcome signs.[10]


A view over Newry looking north
Marcus Square, Newry
Looking southwest over Newry, with Newry Cathedral in the centre of the picture
Newry Town Hall

There is strong evidence of continual human habitation in the area from early times, where it is seen during the Bronze Age that Newry had a factory type community who were producing in abundance very detailed jewellery for garments, three of these Newry Clasps can be found in the Ulster Museum, and a massive arm clasp from this same period was also found in Newry.[11] In recent times the survey for the new bypass revealed a number of standing stones on a central area down the O Meath road, these like many other finds, like that of ancient cave at the top of the Dublin Road area, have seemingly been noted and forgotten about, it is estimated that as many as 130 ancient sites were discovered at the top of the Camlough Road amongst these there were 3 Neolithic homesteads were discovered at which time in the all were noted, and left to be destroyed by the New road, standing stones were also seen on at least one of these sites, they stand no more. In 820, the Danes made one of their earliest irruptions at Newry abbey, from whence they proceeded to Armagh, taking it by storm, and plundering and desolating the country around.[12]

In A.D 835, according to O Halloran's History of Ireland, the Danes again made a sudden incursion into Newry, with a large body of Danes landed at Inbher-Chin-Tra-gha, or Newry, and committed, dreadful cruelties there. Then, they attacked Armagh, and set fire to the churches and university, plundering them of all their plate and riches and plundered all in his way setting fire to them, putting at the same time to the sword, above a thousand people, clergy and laity were slaughtered. Todd James Henthorn tells us more in his 1867 Volume, (Chronicles and memories of England and Ireland in the Middle Ages) where he tells us the abbey was attacked in 824. A small medieval town was in situ to the North and South of the abbey which was refounded in 1142 (Keating G) by King O Carroll of the Oriel on the request of Saint Malachi (Ibid). The landing stage of the abbey was situated to the North of the college in Killmorey street, from these early times it was the main pier and port of the town. It stayed as such until the construction of the new canal took place. The abbey was later converted to a collegiate church in 1543, before being surrendered to the crown in 1548. The abbey is seen to be giving its earnings to the crown almost 200 years before this date. It is described as being one of the richest and largest in Ireland. The Vikings attacked the Abbey many time, slaughtering its occupants. The town was granted its first charter between 1157 by High King of Ireland Muirchertach Mac Lochlainn.[13] many believe that this charter is in fact a 17cent fake compiled by Ware as it reads no different that the Melifont charter there is also some argument that the latter was built before Newry which can really hold no water as Melifont was a new structure.

In 1162 the monastery was attacked and burned to some degree, by Irish clans. There is no evidence however as to how much of the abbey was burned in this attack stones don't burn so it was not completely destroyed as may be assumed. De Courcy's lordship ensured a safe spell for the abbey after he had built several castles in and around Newry, these were typical Norman affairs Motte and Baileys.

In 1539 an English mercenary, Nicholas Bagenal, fled to Ireland after murdering a man in Leek, Staffordshire, apparently with the aid of his two brothers.[14] After some time in the employment of the O Neill he reached a high status, was granted a pardon in 1543, and became Marshal of the army. During his early years in the Louth area he lived at Carlingford where his son Henry was born. Lord Bingham is seen sending Oriel labourers to Newry in 1546 at which time Bagenal is seen restoring the castle of Newry which belonged to Hugh O Neill being first built by John De Courcy in 1186 (De Arcy McGee See also Lewis 1815) Not long after this the Marshall in 1552 is seen securing a 21-year lease on the Newry property which was confiscated from the Cistercians the Castle was then pulled to the ground by Shane O Neill who banished Bagenal from Newry in 1566.

Many of the old walls of the Abbey are still standing round the abbey fields. The nearby convent was also part of the Abbey,and is seen mentioned in the Bagenal patent. A small medieval church can be found in its grounds. It is an ancient place. The abbey site is mentioned in the rent rolls of 1575, said to consist of a 'church, a steeple, a cemetery, a chapter-house, dormitory and hall, two orchards and one garden, containing one acre, within the precincts of the college which was situated at Killmorey street on the site of the old gas works.

During the 1689 Raid on Newry Williamite forces under Toby Purcell repulsed an attack by the Jacobites under the Marquis de Boisseleau. At the period of the Battle of the Boyne, the Duke of Berwick set fire to the parts of the town which he had restructured to defend it, see Berwicks Journal, Schomberg sent troops in during the early hours of the mornings when seeing the flames, they successfully extinguished them. While it is believed that King William may have stayed at a Newry Castle,the story is a far fetched one, King William took a portable wooden bed room with him on this campaign,which he called his coach, (see The Impartial History by Rev Story) the King refused to sleep in Castles or houses, preferring to be amongst his men.

One of the main Castles of Newry at this date was an ancient abbey building which stood at Mill Street corner, it stood in the North West end of the abbey complex, its remains were finally demolished in 1965. The other abbey buildings were once used by Bagenal (30 odd years), as pig sties and stables according to the O Neill web site, these buildings lay neglected when King William passed through the town, for over 100 years they were nothing more than great massive stores or sheds in the back ground and not considered as part of the town. Isaac Corry demolished some of them in the early 1800s the ones that he didn't demolish were turned into home steads or ware houses this included the 140 feet of the great church that was constructed in 1142 he demolished the altar of the same and completely dug up the ancient grave yard that was beside the church removing ancient bones by the cart load to St Mary's at Chapel street while there was deep mourning from the Catholics of the town at these action no one complained because of Corry's status. The grave yard is currently a car park for Lidl the great church is now a museum Bagenal Castle.

By 1881 the population of Newry had reached 15,590.[15] 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.[16]

The Troubles

Main article: The Troubles in Newry

Newry saw several violent incidents during the conflict known as the Troubles. These went on into the late 1990s and even in 2010 – such as bomb scares and car bombs.

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. In 2003, the hilltop watch towers were taken down. The Army withdrew from the area on 25 June 2007 when they closed their final base at Bessbrook.[17][18] As there are no garrisons in the area the British Army has had no official presence in Newry or South Armagh since the end of Operation Banner.


Newry lies in the most south-eastern part of both Ulster and Northern Ireland. About half of the city (the west) lies in County Armagh and the other half (the east) in County Down. The Clanrye River, which runs through the city, forms the historic border between County Armagh and County Down.

The city sits in a valley, 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. The Cooley Mountains lie to the south east. The Clanrye River runs through the centre of town, parallel to the Newry Canal. The city also lies at the northernmost end of Carlingford Lough, where the canal enters the sea at Victoria Locks.


Newry is within the civil parishes of Newry and Middle Killeavy. The parishes have long been divided into townlands, the names of which mainly come from the Irish language. The following is a list of townlands in Newry's urban area,[19] alongside their likely etymologies:[5][20]

County Armagh (west of the River Clanrye)
Townland Origin (Irish unless stated) Translation
Aghnaveigh (alternate local name)
Alt na bhFiach
Achadh na bhFiach
glen of the ravens
field of the ravens
Ballinlare Baile na Ladhaire townland of the fork/gap
Carnagat Carn na gCat cairn of the cats
Carnbane Carn Bán white cairn
Derry Beg Doire Beag little oak wood
Drumalane An Droim Leathan broad ridge
Lisdrumgullion Lios Droim gCuilinn fort of the holly ridge
Lisdrumliska Lios Druim Loiscthe fort of the burnt ridge
County Down (east of the River Clanrye)
Townland Origin (Irish unless stated) Translation
Ballynacraig Baile na gCreag townland of the crags
Ballinaire Baile an Iubhair settlement of the yew tree
Carneyhough Cárn Uí h-Eochadha OHaughey[s] Carn[21]
Cloghanramer Clochán Ramhar thick stone structure/causeway
Commons an English name that first appeared in 1810[22]
Creeve Craobh tree/bush
Damolly probably Damh Maoile house of the round hill
Drumcashellone Droim Caisil Eoghain the ridge of Eoghan's cashel
Greenan Grianán eminent or sunny place


Although officially a city, Newry is classified as a large town by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) (i.e. 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:


As with the rest of Ireland, Newry has a temperate climate, with a narrow range of temperatures, regular windy conditions, and rainfall throughout the year.

Climate data for Newry, United Kingdom (1981–2010 normals)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 6.8
Average low °C (°F) 1.7
Average precipitation mm (inches) 108.9
Source: Met Office (UK)[25]


Newry has a reputation as one of the best provincial shopping-towns in Northern Ireland, with the Buttercrane Centre and The Quays Newry attracting large numbers of shoppers from as far away as Cork.[26]

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.[27] The city itself has become markedly more prosperous in recent years. Unemployment has reduced from over 26% in 1991 to scarcely 2% in 2008.[28]

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 to buy cheaper goods due to the difference in currency. 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".[29]

However the increased flow of trade has led to resultant tailbacks, sometimes several miles long (many kilometres), 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".[30]



The headquarters of Newry and Mourne District Council are based 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 three Ulster Unionist and one Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) councillors. Former UUP member Henry Reilly was re-elected in 2011 as a UKIP candidate. Newry and Mourne District Council was scheduled to be merged with the adjoining Down District Council in 2011 as part of the reorganisation of local government in Northern Ireland but these plans were shelved.

As a result of the 2011 Northern Ireland Council elections the council area for Newry Town is as follows:

Name District Electoral Area Party
John Feehan Newry Town Social Democratic and Labour Party
John McArdle Newry Town Social Democratic and Labour Party
Charlie Casey Newry Town Sinn Féin
Brendan Curran Newry Town Sinn Féin
Valerie Harte Newry Town Sinn Féin
Davy Hyland Newry Town Independent
Jack Patterson Newry Town Independent

Notable buildings

Catholic Cathedral of SS. Patrick and Colman, Newry

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 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.[33] 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 Armagh and Down.

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 MacNeill 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.



Roman Catholic

Protestant Churches


Notable people



Association football (soccer)

Until 2012, Newry City F.C. played at the Showgrounds before being liquidated. A phoenix club named Newry City AFC was formed to play in amateur leagues in 2013

Newry City Ladies FC formed in 2011 and affiliated to Newry City AFC have qualified for the women's UEFA Champions league for 2016 . They started at the lowest tier in 2011 and won their division year on year, winning the premiership league on the last game of the season .

The local amateur league, the Carnbane League was established in 1968. As of 2011 the teams competing in these leagues at senior level are:

Premier Division

First Division

Gaelic Athletic Association

The Down GAA team has its home ground at Páirc Esler in the city. Local clubs are Newry Bosco GFC, Newry Shamrocks GAC, John Mitchel GFC and Ballyholland GFC, all in Down GAA, and Thomas Davis GFC, Corrinshego and Killeavy St Moninna's GAC, both in Armagh GAA.

Rugby Union

Newry RFC (also known as Newry Rugby Club, Newry RFU or Newry) is an Irish amateur rugby union club, founded in 1925. The club is a member of the Irish Rugby Football Union's Ulster branch. The club currently fields three senior teams and several junior teams ranging from under-12 to under-18 and a women's team for the first time in 2010–2011 season. The club's home ground is known as Telford Park. The team currently has two playing fields located at this ground along with the clubhouse on the outskirts of Newry.


Newry Olympic HC is a field hockey team located at the north of the city. The men's first XI currently play in the ONE1918 Senior 1 league.


Primary Schools

Post-Primary Schools

Further Education

See also


  1. 2010 annual report in Ulster-Scots North/South Ministerial Council.
  2. 2002 annual report in Ulster-Scots North/South Ministerial Council.
  3. Guide to Inch Abbey in Ulster-Scots Department of the Environment.
  4. " – Newry". Retrieved 26 January 2012.
  5. 1 2 "Newry and Mourne (C. Dunbar)" (PDF). Retrieved 26 September 2011. Newry (town), Co. Armagh/Co. Down. The modern Irish name of Newry is An tIúr 'the yew tree' being an abbreviation of Iúr Cinn Trá 'yew tree at the head of the strand'. The anglicised form comes from An Iúraigh an oblique form of An Iúrach 'the grove of yew trees' (PNI vol. I).
  8. NI Planning Service: District Proposal For Newry City
  9. BBC report
  10. Welcome sign in Newry, Northern Ireland, in English and Irish
  11. H.E Kilbride-Jones Craftmanship in Bronze, free to read in Google books
  12. Anthony Mamions Ancient and Modern History of the Maritime Ports of Ireland (1855)
  13. See Flanagan, M.: Irish Royal Charters – Texts and Contexts (2005) Oxford University Press: London.
  14. Newry Journal
  15. "ref name=""
  16. Michael Farrell Northern Ireland: The Orange State
  17. BBC News Retrieved 7 April 2010. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  18. Soldiers depart Bessbrook Mill for the final time
  19. Ordnance Survey Ireland: Online map viewer (choose "historic" to see townland boundaries)
  20. The Northern Ireland Place-Name Project
  21. Placenames NI – The Northern Ireland Place-Name Project. "Townland of Carneyhough".
  22. Placenames NI – The Northern Ireland Place-Name Project. "Townland of Commons". Retrieved 27 September 2011.
  23. Data supplied by Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency
  24. NI Neighbourhood Information Service
  25. "Newry Climate". UK Met Office. Retrieved 28 May 2013.
  26. "David McKittrick: The great nappy rush (no, not rash)". The Independent. London. 1 January 2009. Retrieved 7 April 2010.
  27. Halifax House Price Survey
  28. Article by Frances McDonnell, Belfast Briefing, page 21, Irish Times, 9 December 2008, quoting Dr Gerard O'Hare
  29. Quinn, Eamon (18 December 2008). "A Northern Ireland Town Is a Shoppers' Paradise". The New York Times. Retrieved 7 April 2010.
  30. Irish Times, 9 December 2008, op cit
  32. "Northern Ireland Assembly debates, 9 March 2009, 2:45 pm". mySociety. Retrieved 1 December 2009.
  33. "Newry Cathedral". Newry and Mourne District Council. Archived from the original on 13 October 2006. Retrieved 25 June 2008.
  34. 1 2 Newry and Mourne District Council. "Newry City, The town's history". Archived from the original on 16 September 2007. Retrieved 16 January 2008.
  36. Journal of the Association for the Preservation of Memorials of the Dead in Ireland (1898), p. 255
  37. Taylor & Francis Group; Cathy Hartley; Susan Leckey (2003). A Historical Dictionary of British Women. Routledge. p. 186. ISBN 1-85743-228-2.
  38. Michael Legge at the Internet Movie Database
  39. Culture Northern Ireland
  40. Tomm Moore at the Internet Movie Database
  41. Gerard Murphy at the Internet Movie Database
Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Newry.
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