Newcastle, County Down

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Coordinates: 54°12′36″N 5°52′55″W / 54.21°N 5.882°W / 54.21; -5.882

Newcastle is a small town in County Down, Northern Ireland. It had a population of 7,444 people recorded in the 2001 Census. The seaside resort lies on the Irish Sea coast at the base of Slieve Donard, one of the Mourne Mountains, and is known for its sandy beach and the Royal County Down Golf Club. The town lies within the Down District Council area.

The town aims to promote itself as the "activity resort" for Northern Ireland and its most special attribute is its location at the foot of Slieve Donard. The town has benefitted from a multi million upgrade which makes it a high quality seaside attraction. The town is twinned with New Ross, County Wexford, in the Republic of Ireland.

Contents

History

The name of the town derives from a castle (demolished in the 19th century) built by Felix Magennis in the late 16th century which stood at the mouth of the Shimna River.

In the 17th century Ulster ports began to rise in prominence. In 1625 William Pitt was appointed as Customer of the ports of Newcastle, Dundrum, Killough, Portaferry, Donaghadee, Bangor and Holywood.[1]

On 13 January 1843, boats from Newcastle and Annalong set out for the usual fishing stations, and were caught in a gale. 14 boats were lost in the heavy seas including a boat which had gone to the rescue. Only two boats survived, the Victoria and the Brothers.[2] 76 men perished, 46 of whom were from Newcastle. They left twenty seven widows, one hundred and eighteen children, and twenty one dependents. A Public Subscription was raised and the cottages, known as Widows Row, were built for the widows and dependants. A local song about the disaster says "Newcastle town is one long street entirely stripped of men"

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