Top: Newry skyline, Middle: The Buttercrane, The Quays, Newry Town Hall, Bottom: Drumalane Mill, Newry Cathedral
Newry is located in Northern Ireland
Location within Northern Ireland
Population27,913 (2021 Census)[3]
Irish grid referenceJ085265
CountryNorthern Ireland
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townNEWRY
Postcode districtBT34, BT35
Dialling code028
PoliceNorthern Ireland
FireNorthern Ireland
AmbulanceNorthern Ireland
UK Parliament
List of places
Northern Ireland
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[6] in Northern Ireland, standing on the Clanrye river in counties Down and Armagh. It is near the border with the Republic of Ireland, on the main route between Belfast (34 miles/55 km away) and Dublin (67 miles/108 km away). The population was 27,913 in 2021.[3]

Newry was founded in 1157 as a settlement around a Cistercian abbey. In the 16th century the English dissolved the abbey and built Bagenal's Castle on the site. Newry grew as a market town and a garrison, and became a port in 1742 when the Newry Canal was opened, the first summit-level canal in Ireland. A cathedral city, it is the episcopal seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Dromore. In 2002, as part of the Golden Jubilee of Elizabeth II, Newry was granted city status along with Lisburn.[7]


The name Newry is an anglicization of An Iúraigh, an oblique form of An Iúrach, which means "the grove of yew trees".[8][9]

The modern Irish name for Newry is An tIúr (pronounced [ənʲ ˈtʲuːɾˠ]), which means "the yew tree". An tIúr is a shortening of Iúr Cinn Trá, "yew tree at the head of the strand", which was formerly the most common Irish name for Newry.[8] This relates to an apocryphal story that Saint Patrick planted a yew tree there in the 5th century.

The Irish name Cathair an Iúir (City of Newry) appears on some bilingual signs around the city.[10]


Merchants Quay, Newry, in the late 19th century
Hill Street in the early 1900s
Trevor Hill in the early 1900s

There is evidence of continual human habitation in the area from early times. During the Bronze Age, the Newry area had a community who were making 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 the same period was also found in Newry.[11]

In AD 820, Vikings landed in the Newry area, "from whence they proceeded to Armagh, taking it by storm, and plundering and desolating the country around".[12]

Early history

A Cistercian abbey was founded at Newry in 1157, when it was granted a charter by Muirchertach Mac Lochlainn, king of Tír Eoghain and High King of Ireland.[13] It might have been a Benedictine monastery before this.[13] Newry Abbey (now the area around Newry Museum) would have been a sprawling complex of buildings and the heart of a monastic settlement.[13] It existed for four centuries. The abbey was dissolved by the English in 1548, when it was recorded that it consisted of a church, steeple, college, chapter house, dormitory, a hall, a graveyard, two orchards and one garden.[13] Modern archaeologists unearthed thirty-three burials from part of the former graveyard, and further bones were found in charnel pits. They included remains of men, women, and several youths, and some of the individuals suffered violent deaths.[13] It is believed this was a graveyard for the lay community from when the abbey was still in existence.[13]

In April 1552, Nicholas Bagenal, Marshal of the English army in Ireland,[14] was granted ownership of the former abbey lands.[13] He built a fortified house known as Bagenal's Castle on the site of the abbey and its graveyard, re-using some of the abbey buildings.[13] Bagenal also had an earthen rampart built around his Castle and the small town of Newry.[13]

During the Irish Rebellion of 1641, Newry was captured by Irish Catholic rebels led by the Magennises and McCartans.[15] In May 1642, a Scottish Covenanter army landed in Ulster and seized Newry from the rebels. James Turner, one of the Scottish officers, recounted that Catholic rebels and civilians were taken to the bridge over the Newry River and "butchered to death ... some by shooting, some by hanging ... without any legal process".[16] The Scottish general, Robert Monro, said that sixty townsmen and two priests were summarily executed.[17] Turner also said that Scottish soldiers drowned and shot about a dozen Irishwomen before he stopped them killing more.[18]

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.

Modern era

Further information: The Troubles in Newry

By 1881 the population of Newry had reached 15,590.[19]

During the Irish War of Independence there were several assassinations and ambushes in Newry. On 12 December 1920, British reinforcements travelling from Newry to Camlough were ambushed by the Irish Republican Army (IRA), who opened fire and threw grenades from MacNeill's Egyptian Arch. Three IRA members were fatally wounded in the exchange of fire.[20]

When Ireland was partitioned in 1921, Newry became part of Northern Ireland. From the 1920s to the 1960s, Newry Urban District Council was one of the few councils in Northern Ireland which had a majority of councillors from the Catholic/Irish nationalist community. The reason, according to Michael Farrell, was that this community formed such a large majority in the town, around 80% of the population, making it 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.[21]

Newry saw several violent incidents during the conflict known as the Troubles, including a triple killing in 1971, a bombing in 1972, and a mortar attack in 1985. These continued 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 British Army's hilltop watchtowers overlooking Newry were taken down. The British Army withdrew from the area on 25 June 2007 when they closed their final base at Bessbrook.[22][23]


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,[24] alongside their likely etymologies:[5][25]

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
Carneyhough origin unclear
Cloghanramer Clochán Ramhar thick stone structure/causeway
Commons an English name that first appeared in 1810[26]
Creeve Craobh tree/bush
Damolly probably Damh Maoile house of the round hill
Drumcashellone probably Droim Caisil Eoghain the ridge of Eoghan's cashel
Greenan Grianán eminent or sunny place


National Identity of Newry residents (2021)[27][28][29]
Nationality Per cent
Northern Irish

2011 Census

On Census day (27 March 2011) there were 26,967 people living in Newry, accounting for 1.49% of the NI total.[30] Of these:

2021 Census

On Census day (21 March 2021) there were 28,530 people living in Newry.[31] Of these:


As with the rest of Northern 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 (Glenanne climate station at 161m elevation) 1981–2010 normals
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Mean daily maximum °C (°F) 6.8
Mean daily minimum °C (°F) 1.7
Average rainfall mm (inches) 108.9
Average rainy days (≥ 1.0 mm) 16.2 12.4 15.4 13.0 12.4 12.0 12.8 13.2 12.5 15.8 15.8 15.2 166.6


Newry has traditionally been considered a merchant's town, and has maintained 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.[42]

In 2006 Newry house prices grew the most across the whole United Kingdom over the previous decade, as prices in the city had increased by 371% since 1996.[43] The city itself has become markedly more prosperous in recent years. Unemployment has reduced from over 26% in 1991 to scarcely 2% in 2008.[44]

Since the inception of the global financial crisis of 2008–2009, residents of the Republic of Ireland have increasingly been cross-border shopping to Newry to buy cheaper goods due to the difference in currency. The harsh budget in the Republic of Ireland in October 2008, and 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, are among the reasons. 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".[45]

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".[46]

Newry is the global HQ of First Derivatives Plc.[47][48]


Local government

The city of Newry is part of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council. The 2019 Newry, Mourne and Down District Council election resulted in 3 Sinn Féin, 2 SDLP and 1 Independent councillors being elected in the Newry electoral area, only change from the 2014 result was Kevin McAteer who went from SDLP to Independent in 2015 stood down in 2017 to be replaced by Michael Savage. Individually Roisín Mulgrew replaced her party colleague Liz Kimmens, while independent Davy Hyland was replaced by another independent, Gavin Malone.

Council members from 2023 election
District electoral area Name Party
Newry Geraldine Kearns Sinn Féin
Cathal King Sinn Féin
Michael Savage SDLP
Aidan Mathers Sinn Féin
Valerie Harte Sinn Féin
Doire Finn SDLP
Council members from 2019 election
District electoral area Name Party
Newry Gavin Malone Independent
Roisin Mulgrew † Sinn Féin
Michael Savage SDLP
Charlie Casey Sinn Féin
Valerie Harte Sinn Féin
Gary Stokes SDLP
Council members from 2014 election
District electoral area Name Party
Newry Charlie Casey Sinn Féin
Liz Kimmins Sinn Féin
Valerie Harte Sinn Féin
Davy Hyland Independent
Gary Stokes SDLP
Kevin McAteer SDLP

Northern Ireland assembly

Newry is part of the Newry and Armagh (Assembly constituency). In the 2017 elections, the following were elected to the Northern Ireland Assembly: Megan Fearon, Cathal Boylan, Conor Murphy (all members of Sinn Féin), Justin McNulty of the SDLP and William Irwin of the DUP.

Election MLA
Forum election
Maria Caraher
(Sinn Féin)
Patrick McNamee
(Sinn Féin)
Frank Feeley
Seamus Mallon
Jim Speers
5 seats
1998 Conor Murphy
(Sinn Féin)
John Fee
Danny Kennedy
Paul Berry
2003 Davy Hyland
(Sinn Féin)
Pat O'Rawe
(Sinn Féin)
Dominic Bradley
2007 Cathal Boylan
(Sinn Féin)
Mickey Brady
(Sinn Féin)
William Irwin
July 2012
Megan Fearon
(Sinn Féin)
June 2015
Conor Murphy
(Sinn Féin)
2016 Justin McNulty
2017 5 seats
January 2020
Liz Kimmins
(Sinn Féin)

Note: The columns in this table are used only for presentational purposes, and no significance should be attached to the order of columns. For details of the order in which seats were won at each election, see the detailed results of that election.


Together with part of the district of Newry, Mourne and Down, Newry forms the Newry & Armagh constituency for elections to the Westminster Parliament and Northern Ireland Assembly. The Member of Parliament is Mickey Brady of Sinn Féin. He won the seat in the 2015 United Kingdom general election.


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.[52]

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.

Newry Town Hall is notable for being built over the River Clanrye which is the historic boundary between the counties of Armagh and Down.[53]

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 one-quarter mile (400 metres) long and was constructed from local granite. The Enterprise train link from Belfast to Dublin crosses the bridge.

The Newry Reporter every week highlights a historic building in Newry and the surrounding area, giving a brief outline of its history.



Roman Catholic


Methodist Church, Sandy's Street

Newry Baptist Church, Downshire Place

First Presbyterian Church (Non-Subscribing), John Mitchel Place

Downshire Road Presbyterian Church, Downshire Road (1843)

Sandy's Street Presbyterian Church, Sandy's Street

Riverside Reformed Presbyterian Church, Basin Walk

The Salvation Army, Trevor Hill

Metropolitan Church, Edward Street


Notable people

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Arts and media



Academia and science

Politics and diplomacy





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, and was promoted to the NIFL Premiership in 2018.

Gaelic Athletic Association

The Down GAA team has its home ground at Páirc Esler in the city.

Local clubs are:

in Down GAA:

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.


Primary Schools

Post-Primary Schools

Further Education

See also


  1. ^ 2010 annual report in Ulster-Scots Archived 27 February 2013 at the Wayback Machine North/South Ministerial Council.
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  3. ^ a b "Newry". Census 2021. Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA). Retrieved 18 March 2023.
  4. ^ " – Newry". Archived from the original on 23 August 2011. Retrieved 26 January 2012.
  5. ^ a b "Newry and Mourne (C. Dunbar)" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 December 2014. Retrieved 26 September 2011. Newry (town), County Armagh/County 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).
  6. ^ Turner, B, ed. (2006). The Statesman's Yearbook 2006: The Politics, Cultures and Economies of the World. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. p. 1655. ISBN 9781403992765.
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  8. ^ a b "Placenames NI: Newry". Archived from the original on 10 May 2017. Retrieved 20 December 2016.
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  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. ^ a b c d e f g h i Dawkes, Giles (2009). "Before Bagenal's Castle: Evidence of the Medieval Cistercian Abbey at Newry". Ulster Journal of Archaeology. 68: 124–126, 137–139.
  14. ^ John McCullagh (10 April 2021). "Nicholas Bagenal 1509-1590". Newry Journal. Archived from the original on 7 August 2016. Retrieved 12 June 2016.
  15. ^ Liam Kennedy & Philip Ollerenshaw. Ulster Since 1600: Politics, Economy, and Society. Oxford University Press, 2013. p.29
  16. ^ Royle, Trevor (2004), Civil War: The Wars of the Three Kingdoms 1638–1660, London: Abacus, ISBN 0-349-11564-8 p. 142
  17. ^ Stevenson, David (1981). Scottish Covenanters and Irish Confederates. Ulster Historical Foundation. p. 106.
  18. ^ Whelan, Bernadette (2001). "Women and Warfare 1641–1691". In Lenihan, Padraig (ed.). Conquest and Resistance: War in Seventeenth-Century Ireland. Brill Publishers. pp. 321–322.
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