( or simply an Dún
) is one of
the traditional counties of
. It is located within the province of Ulster and is part of Northern Ireland.
The county forms an area of . The estimated population in 1992 was
416,600; a more recent approximation puts it at about 516,000.
town is Downpatrick, but the largest town is Bangor. The only whole city is Newry, although
east and parts of south Belfast as well as south Lisburn lie within
the county also.
contains both the southernmost point in Northern Ireland (Cranfield Point) and the easternmost point in Ireland (Burr Point).
borders County Antrim to the north,
Sea to the east and County
Armagh to the west.
It is one of only two counties of Ireland
to presently have a
majority of the population from a Protestant
community background, according to
the 2001 census
other is County Antrim
contains two significant peninsulas:
Peninsula and Lecale
has a coastline along Belfast Lough to
the north and Carlingford
Lough to the south (both of which have access to the
sea). Strangford Lough lies between the Ards Peninsula and the
mainland. Down also contains part of the shore of
Neagh. Smaller loughs include Lough Island
Lagan forms most of the border with County Antrim.
The River Bann
also flows through the
southwestern areas of the county. Other rivers include the Clanrye and Quoile.
several islands off the Down coast: Mew Island, Light House Island
and the Copeland
Islands, all of which lie to the north of the Ards
The mouth of Carlingford Lough from
Knockree in south County Down
Gunn Island lies off the Lecale coast. In
addition there are a large number of small islands in Strangford
Down is where, in the words of the famous song by Percy French, "The mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea", and the granite Mourne Mountains continue to be renowned for
their beauty. Slieve Donard, at , is the highest peak in the Mournes and in
Northern Ireland. Another important peak is Slieve Croob, at , the source of the River Lagan.
Places of interest
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 Brontë, and Branwell Bronte.
Patrick Bronte was born in this region.
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. Newry is also the
home of the first summit-level canal ever to be built in the
is also home to Exploris, the Northern Ireland Aquarium, located in Portaferry, on the shores of Strangford Lough, on the Ards
Old Inn in Crawfordsburn is one of Ireland's oldest hostelries, with records
dating back to 1614. The 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.
- 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 .
- Kilcoo (from the Irish: Cill Chua meaning "church of mourning"
– from the legend that Saint Patrick's body stayed there while on
its way to Downpatrick to be buried) is a small village in County
Down situated between Hilltown and Castlewellan.
(population of 75,000 or more at 2001 Census)
(population of 18,000 or more and under 75,000 at 2001 Census)
(population of 10,000 or more and under 18,000 at 2001 Census)
(population of 4,500 or more and under 10,000 at 2001 Census)
(population of 2,250 or more and under 4,500 at 2001 Census)
(population of 1,000 or more and under 2,250 at 2001 Census)
Small villages or hamlets
(population of less than 1,000 at 2001 Census)
- Crawfordsburn Old Inn website
- Harris, Walter (attributed). 1744. The Ancient and Present
Stare of the County of Down...'Dublin.
- The Memoirs of John M. Regan, a Catholic Officer
in the RIC and RUC, 1909–48, Joost Augusteijn, editor,
District Inspector, Co. Down 1930s, 1919, ISBN