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County Down
Warrenpoint, July 2010 (02).JPG
Warrenpoint from Cloughmore Stone over Carlingford Lough
Grid reference: J145180
Location: 54°5’57"N, 6°14’56"W
Population: 7,605
Post town: Newry
Postcode: BT34
Dialling code: 028, +44 28
Local Government
Council: Newry, Mourne and Down
South Down
Website: [1]

Warrenpoint is a small town in County Down. It lies on the northern shore of Carlingford Lough and is separated from the Republic of Ireland by a narrow strait. The town sprang up within the townland of Ringmackilroy. It is locally nicknamed "The Point".

Warrenpoint is known for its scenic location, the Maiden of Mourne festival, the Blues on the Bay music festival, the passenger ferry service between Warrenpoint and Omeath and the nearby Narrow Water Castle which dates from the 1660s.


What is now Warrenpoint long consisted of a small number of basic dwellings inhabited by people reliant on fishing for their survival and sustenance.

The name "Warrenpoint" is now believed to have been taken from the name of a family that lived here around the latter half of the 18th century. Father Bernard Trainor (who had an interest in place names of the area) mentioned that a family called "Waring" lived here and had a house called "Warings Point".

Walter Harris in 1744 stated that "Warrings Point" is about "a mile or so North West of Rose Trevor".

Its scenic beauty and coastal location elicited rapid development so that the population in 1824 was 500, in 1831 was 1,000 and in 1884 2000 rising to 5000 in the summer with the influx of visitors. In 1836 there was a school, a court house, a savings bank and a farming society.

Fairs were held once a month and a market every Friday. In the mid-19th century, Newry merchants obtained a government grant to create a tidal dock at the village, as prior to 1850 ships of above 150 tonnes could not get further up the lough than Narrow Water.

A railway connection opened on 9 May 1849,[1] increasing Warrenpoint's popularity as a holiday destination. and Warrenpoint became popular as a resort town. Thousands flocked to the resort every year, where most took the passenger ferry to Omeath in County Louth. The Warrenpoint railway station closed in January 1965. The Ferry remains in operation but only in the summer months from May to September.

A bandstand in the town park provided concerts and a swimming pool was built in 1908. The baths were opened by Captain Roger Hall on Whit Monday, the 8th of June in that year, but they are now closed to the public.

Warrenpoint Pantomime Club, established in 1950, has staged 55 highly popular pantomimes in the town, the latest being "The Wizard of Oz" in 2011.

Warrenpoint from the Cooley Mountains on the Louth side of the Lough

On 6 February 1921, during the Irish War of Independence, the Irish Republican Army ambushed an Ulster Special Constabulary (USC) patrol in Warrenpoint. The ambush took place on Seaview Road and one USC constable was killed.[2]

On 27 August 1979, during "the Troubles", the Provisional Irish Republican Army ambushed a British Army convoy at nearby Narrow Water Castle. Eighteen soldiers were killed – the British Army's greatest loss-of-life in a single incident during the conflict. This is often called the Warrenpoint ambush. British soldiers then fired south, across the Border, into county Louth, towards the location of their assumed attackers. This British army fire killed a young English tourist, William Hudson, watching the scene from lower Ferryhill road, where a (broken) memorial to his memory is located.

On 12 April 1989, "the Troubles" Joanne Reilly was killed by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) in van bomb attack on Warrenpoint Royal Ulster Constabulary base. Inadequate warning given.[3]

Sights about the town

Narrow Water Castle just outside the town is a three-storey tower house built in 1560 to protect the entrance to the Newry river estuary. Across the road, to the east, is the new Narrow Water Castle, really a stately home, built in 1840.

Today a small but modern passenger ferry service operates out of Warrenpoint to the village of Omeath in County Louth in the Irish Republic. The trip takes about fifteen minutes. Other cruises include trips to Narrow Water Castle, Ross Monument Rostrevor and Bay & Harbour Cruises.

Two small inland lakes, the "Mill Dam" and the "Waterworks" offer a variety of fishing opportunities. A permit is needed to fish these lakes, which are located about 1 mile from the town centre.

Warrenpoint Promenade was used as a backdrop for Bundoran in the film The Butcher Boy, especially the exterior of the Star of the Sea Convent and the Edwardian swimming baths.

Carlingford Lough at dawn

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Warrenpoint)