County Down information
County Down is one of six counties that form Northern Ireland, situated in the northeast of the island of Ireland. It is also one of the thirty-two traditional counties of Ireland and is within the province of Ulster.
The county was archaically called Downshire. It borders County Antrim to the north, the Irish Sea to the east and south, County Armagh to the west, and County Louth across Carlingford Lough to the southwest. In the east of the county is Strangford Lough and the Ards Peninsula.
The largest town is Bangor, on the northeast coast. Three other large towns and cities are on its border: Newry lies on the western border with County Armagh, while Lisburn and Belfast lie on the northern border with County Antrim. Down contains both the southernmost point of Northern Ireland (Cranfield Point) and the easternmost point of Ireland (Burr Point).
It is currently one of only two counties of Ireland to have a majority of the population from a Protestant background, according to the 2001 census. The other is County Antrim to the north. However the main religion in south Down is Catholicism.
Image: Mourne Mountains, County Down
Places of interest
An area of County Down is known as the Brontë Homeland (situated between Rathfriland and Banbridge, where Patrick Brontë had his church), after Patrick Brontë (originally Brunty), father of Anne, Charlotte, Emily and Branwell. Patrick Brontë was born in this region.
The city of Newry in the south of the county contains St Patrick's (Church of Ireland, 1578), overlooking the city centre from Church street, on the east side of the city, which is considered to be Ireland's first ever Protestant church. The Newry Canal is also the first summit-level canal ever to be built in the British Isles.
Castlewellan Forest Park - located in Castlewellan, Northern Ireland. It contains the national Arboretum of Northern Ireland, started in 1740, which contains trees from Asia, North and South America, and Australasia.
Down is also home to Exploris, the Northern Ireland Aquarium, located in Portaferry, on the shores of Strangford Lough, on the Ards Peninsula.
The Old Inn in Crawfordsburn is one of Ireland's oldest hostelries, with records dating back to 1614. It is predated however by Donaghadee's Grace Neill's which was opened in 1611. The Old inn claims that people who have stayed there include Jonathan Swift, Dick Turpin, Peter the Great, Lord Tennyson, Charles Dickens, Anthony Trollope, former US president George H. W. Bush, and C. S. Lewis, who honeymooned there.
Tollymore Forest Park - the first state forest park in Northern Ireland, established on 2 June 1955. It is located at Bryansford, near the town of Newcastle in the Mourne and Slieve Croob Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Scrabo Tower - in Newtownards, was built as a memorial to Charles Stewart, 3rd Marquess of Londonderry.
Saint Patrick is reputed to be buried at Down Cathedral in Downpatrick, reputedly alongside St. Brigid and St. Columba.
Saul, County Down - where Saint Patrick said his first eucharist in Ireland.
Main cities and towns
Below you will find a list of cities and towns within County Down. If a Further information link is available, please click on it to find detailed information including accommodation, restaurants, bars, pubs, shops and more...
Belfast - Further information