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County Down ( or simply an Dún) is one of the traditional counties of Ireland. It is located within the province of Ulster and is part of Northern Irelandmarker.

The county forms an area of . The estimated population in 1992 was 416,600; a more recent approximation puts it at about 516,000. The county town is Downpatrickmarker, but the largest town is Bangormarker. The only whole city is Newrymarker, although east and parts of south Belfast as well as south Lisburn lie within the county also.

Down contains both the southernmost point in Northern Ireland (Cranfield Pointmarker) and the easternmost point in Irelandmarker (Burr Point).

The county borders County Antrim to the north, the Irish Seamarker 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. The other is County Antrim.


Mourne Mountains
Down contains two significant peninsulas: Ards Peninsulamarker and Lecale peninsulamarker.

The county has a coastline along Belfast Lough to the north and Carlingford Loughmarker to the south (both of which have access to the sea). Strangford Loughmarker lies between the Ards Peninsula and the mainland. Down also contains part of the shore of Lough Neaghmarker. Smaller loughs include Lough Island Reavymarker.

The River Laganmarker forms most of the border with County Antrim. The River Bann also flows through the southwestern areas of the county. Other rivers include the Clanryemarker and Quoile.

The mouth of Carlingford Lough from Knockree in south County Down
There are several islands off the Down coast: Mew Island, Light House Island and the Copeland Islandsmarker, all of which lie to the north of the Ards Peninsula. Gunn Island lies off the Lecale coast. In addition there are a large number of small islands in Strangford Lough.

County Down is where, in the words of the famous song by Percy French, "The mountains of Mournemarker sweep down to the sea", and the granite Mourne Mountains continue to be renowned for their beauty. Slieve Donardmarker, at , is the highest peak in the Mournes and in Northern Ireland. Another important peak is Slieve Croobmarker, at , the source of the River Lagan.

Places of interest



(population of 75,000 or more at 2001 Census) Belfast

Large towns

(population of 18,000 or more and under 75,000 at 2001 Census)

Medium towns

(population of 10,000 or more and under 18,000 at 2001 Census)

Small towns

(population of 4,500 or more and under 10,000 at 2001 Census)

Intermediate settlements

(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)


See also


  1. Crawfordsburn Old Inn website

Further reading

  • 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 978-1-84682-069-4.

External links

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