Newry nestles in a low river valley with the eastern end of the Ring of Gullion on its western side, and rocky outcrops of Newry granite on its eastern side. Along the shore towards Warrenpoint on the east side of the estuary is the only flat access road – except of course for the parallel road to Omeath and Carlingford just across the water.
Although these lie geographically to east and west of the river estuary, the latter is spoken of as the road to The South. This apparant paradox is resolved when you remember than Warrenpoint is in
Few people realize that the Lough runs from north to south. From the Warrenpoint Road you have an excellent view of the tree-covered sheer rock face of
Please don’t drive everywhere! Get out and drink deeply of the natural beauty that surrounds you. There is a forest to your left and access to it through a disused quarry some halfway to Warrenpoint. Pleasant paths through the forest have been constructed for your pleasure. Beyond is the Hall’s estate at Narrow Water. You will see Narrow Water Keep at the water’s edge just before you reach the famous Warrenpoint Links Golf Course. Several such Norman edifices were built up to eight centuries ago to defend Carlingford Lough.
Make time to visit King John’s Castle and the other preserved remains of the ancient and walled town of
Although it has more than a dozen fine restaurants, you must book in advance to avoid disappointment. Dine early and leave time for a stroll through the village before nightfall. It is perhaps the best-preserved old Norman town in all
Do not leave without visiting the new and fast-extending marina. I have sailed out of here frequently and must recommend it. You must make your own arrangements. The complex is open to diners from and to celebrating parties at all times, no matter what is their excuse for celebration.
King John’s Castle is matched on ‘our’ side of the Lough by Greencastle, which is some ten miles further along on your present route from Warrenpoint. And just beyond that is Cranfield, the most southerly beach head of
I have omitted to tell you about Rostrevor. I have several friends who reside there and who commanded me not to reveal its many charms, for fear this unique village, reputedly with Mediterranean climate and flora, be overrun with thousands of eager tourists. Someone before me let the cat out of the bag and it has become our most popular retirement capital. The many high value shoreline apartments of recent years have brought some controversy, with locals complaining of steep rises in property values. I don’t want to add to this so, I’ll say no more!
[Come away, O human child,
To the waters and the wild,
With a fairy hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping,
Than you can understand].
You are on the lower slopes of Slieve Martin, which is heavily wooded with conifers. However there is an ancient
It is well worth a visit. An upper slope boasts the Cloughmore Stone, a large erratic borne here from
That’s if you believe in that kind of thing.
You may prefer the legend of competing giants of old, slinging rocks in anger at one another across the
If you don’t believe me, check them on the map. They are the very same shape!
What more proof do you want?
I’m not at all sure why, but the seaside resort of Warrenpoint is my most favoured local spot of all. Perhaps it’s because I spent the happiest days of youth on outings by train to this idyllic paradise. True, it is handicapped by the lack of a fine sandy beach, but its pebbled shore is all I now need. I learned to swim almost fifty years ago in its outdoor, unheated swimming pool. I still have the salt smell of its seawater in my nostrils and its taste in my throat.
Stroll aimlessly through its streets, lanes and parks. I promise you will not be disappointed by its variety of architecture, its old world charm or with the friendly people you will meet on your rambles. A new pleasant promenade now fronts the shore road and a pier extension allows the rambler to approach within touching distance of the container ships plying into and out of its busy maritime port, for Warrenpoint has taken over where Newry port of old left off.
That’s the Omeath Park Hotel over there, where my sister’s (and more recently, my son’s) wedding reception was celebrated. The view from its gardens, looking back in this direction, is every bit as impressive. Warrenpoint comes alive at night, with many fine restaurants, clubs and discos. It has that enticing buzz of people enjoying themselves. Stroll among them, even if loud music in not to your taste. Their sense of fun is infectious!
Children can enjoy the fun fair in the Square.