The island of Ireland is divided into thirty two counties and the City of Newry is split between two of the counties in Northern Ireland, County Armagh and County Down. The city itself is situated in a valley from where the peaks of the Mourne, Cooley and south Armagh mountains can been seen.
The city has existed as a settlement for well over 850 years. When John De Courcy came to Ireland in the twelfth century he established significant bases at Newry,Carlingford, Carrickfergus and Coleraine all of which developed into towns and monasteries.
After the Irish war of independence to drive the British out of Ireland(1919 – 1921), a truce was called and a treaty was signed which partitioned the Country, despite being a nationalist town, Newry fell on the northern side of the border. As a result of partition Newry people, because of their nationalist sympathies suffered greatly from mass unemployment and discrimination inflicted on them by a Unionist lead government.
Newry is thankfully seeing better days. It is a major population centre almost equidistant from Belfast and Dublin, and the border partitioning the island is almost non-existent. However, economically, it’s a different story. As a result of the crash of the Celtic tiger in the south, it’s more cost-effective for southern shoppers to shop in the North, leading to bad traffic congestion in Newry.
Newry is a major transport hub, with convenient connections to the rest of the country.
Newry lies on the main Belfast to Dublin train line. Translink have bus and train timetables for Belfast, NI, and links with Great Britain and the Republic. The station is some distance outside of the city.
Newry is a relatively small city, and can easily be explored on foot.
Taxis are widely available and charge a minimum fee of £4.oo within the city.
Local buses run from about 10AM until 4PM and really aren't worth the effort.
- Newry Cathedral
- St. Patrick's Church, High Street - the first Church of Ireland chapel.
- Newry City Hall - built over Newry's Canal
- John Mitchel Statue – The Statue Is Located on Hill Street, John Mitchel was a militant Irish nationalist activist.
- Newry canal - the oldest summit level canal in both Ireland and Britain.
After Belfast, Newry is arguably Northern Ireland's second finest location for shopping. The town boasts two shopping centres (The Quays and The Buttercrane) as well as a modest out-of-town shopping complex. The Quays also has a 9 screen cinema, showing the latest blockbuster movies. Newry has a 25 metre swimming pool and a sports complex, both of which have seen better days. There are also facilities for playing soccer, bowls and tennis. Newry also has a number of public parks and is surrounded by beautiful towns, the majestic Mourne Mountains and spectacular countryside.and has loads of carry out spots
Finding lunch should not prove a problem, as there are many good sandwich shops located on Hill Street and in The Quays Shopping Centre (people who live in Ireland will know to avoid O'Brien's in the Buttercrane).
Finding somewhere to eat in the evenings can be a challenge. Excellent restaurants (such as the original Soho Place and Tickle) seem to have an abnormally short life-span, thankfully Copper Restaurant has moved from Warrenpoint to Monaghan Street and is THE place for food offering a locally sourced menu and a good vegetarian/vegan menu. Many places offer inexpensive and unremarkable fare, the most prominent being the Canal Court Hotel's bar snacks menu (best described as standard chain-pub food). There are a wide range of Chinese restaurants/takeaways and pizzerias, but remarkably few Indian restaurants. The number of pubs offering food has grown significantly in recent years.
- Despite its stupid name, Art Barfunkel's in the Arts Centre serves very special food (both at lunchtime and in the evening) and the atmosphere is something special.
- Bella Sapori for good quality Italian fayre. The Canal Court has two restaurants, neither of which are renowned amongst locals for either value or excellence.
Just one quick word of warning - food-wise, Newry is hardly a vegetarian's paradise. You have been warned.
- Larkin’s Bar – Attached to the Francis court hotel, this is a relatively small bar that has its regular clientele.
- BED Night Club – One out of the two younger night spots the City has. BED like its competitor night club the BANK attracts the young out going party goer.
- O dowd’s – attached to BED night club, is usually the meeting place for most people making their way into BED night club. O dowd’s on a Thursday night has a lively crowd of students letting their hair down.
- Nan Rices – or Nan’s as it is sometimes known locally is your more traditional Irish bar. It has its regular’s who are very friendly and visitors are made very welcome. It regularly hosts a traditional music night on Fridays and the price of drink is reasonable.
- The Quay Side - Unfortunately this bar has seen better days. It’s a large bar which has trouble attracting the customers which it did in the past, making the place look considerably empty most of the time.
- McGuigan’s – Sports and music bar.
- The Railway Bar – A traditional bar which has its regular characters and customers, all of whom are very friendly and welcoming to all visitors. The bar has a traditional music session held every Thursday night, which attracts musicians from all over Ireland. The music session also attracts many a foreign visitor wishing to immerse themselves in Ireland's musical culture. For anyone visiting Newry on a Thursday night and looking a bit of craic the Railway Bar is the place to be.
For a city, Newry has a surprisingly small number of hotels. For those looking at the lower end of the scale, the Mourne Country Hotel often suffices, although the quality of services offered are continually degrading. More popular, not only with class and location, is the city's newest hotel - the Canal Court Hotel. This hotel offers a wide range of facilities, both for guests and conferences, and is currently encompassing a massive upgrade. Bed and breakfasts are also in abundance throughout the city and its surrounding rural areas at decent rates.
Dundalk, to the south, across the Border in the Republic of Ireland