Warrenpoint, - Samuel Lewis' Topographical Dictionary.
Posted: Tue May 08, 2007 4:21 pm
WARRENPOINT, a sea-port, post-town, and district parish, in the barony of UPPER IVEAGH, county of DOWN, and province of ULSTER, 5 miles (S. E. by S.) from Newry, and 55 1/4 (N.) from Dublin, on the road from Newry to Rostrevor; containing 2428 inhabitants. A castle was built near this place in 1212, by Hugh de Lacy, to protect the ferry across the channel where it narrows, and thence called Narrowwater castle: it was destroyed in the war of 1641, and was rebuilt by the Duke of Ormond in 1663.
The site of the present town was originally a rabbit warren, whence it has received its name. In 1780 it consisted only of two houses, with a few huts for the occasional residence of the fishermen during the oyster season: it now comprises several respectable streets diverging from a square on the sea side, and containing 462 houses, many of them large and well built. This rapid increase has been principally owing to the extraordinary beauty of its situation, commanding very fine views of the bay of Carlingford, and to its convenience as a bathing-town, for which purpose it has been for several years a fashionable place of resort for visiters from all parts.
Petty sessions are held on alternate Mondays; it is a constabulary police station, and has a dispensary. Fairs are held on the last Friday of every month. Its maritime situation has also rendered it a place of considerable commercial activity. Large vessels trading to Newry are obliged to lie here, where there is deep water, good anchorage, and perfect shelter, as the further passage up the channel is intricate and dangerous from the obstruction of rocks, one of which, called Grannaway rock, is particularly marked out by a perch erected on it.
Plans are under consideration for improving this part of the navigation. The shipping trade has been still further accommodated by the erection of a quay at which vessels of large burden can load and discharge their cargoes. Two steamers sail weekly hence to Liverpool; one to Glasgow and one to Dublin; by which very large quantities of agricultural produce, cattle, poultry, eggs, provisions, and oysters are exported, and British and foreign produce received in return.
In the town is a very large distillery, and near it a windmill constructed according to the most approved principles, to which a steam-engine is attached for working the machinery in calm weather; in addition to its practical value, this building forms a striking feature in the landscape when viewed from some distance.
The parish comprises, according to the Ordnance survey, 1178 1/2 statute acres, all of which, with the exception of 68 1/4 acres under water, are of good quality and well cultivated. Not far from the town is Narrowwater Castle, the residence of Roger Hall, Esq., a very fine edifice in the Elizabethan style, built of hewn granite raised from a quarry on the estate: near the town also is Drumaul Lodge, the residence of Jas. Robinson, Esq.; and the neighbouring shores are studded with seats, villas, and cottages, chiefly erected by the gentry of the surrounding counties as bathing-lodges during summer, all enjoying varied prospects of the lough and its surrounding mountains, which combine in a singular manner the picturesque with the sublime.
The living is a perpetual cure, in the diocese of Dromore, and in the gift of the Chancellor of the diocese, as incumbent of Clonallon. The income of the curate amounts to £73. 2., arising from an annual salary of £50 paid by the chancellor and £23. 2. from Primate Boulter's augmentation fund. The church, situated in the town, and about a mile distant from the mother church, is a small building in the early English style: it was erected in 1825 by Roger Hall, Esq., at an expense of £830. 15. 4 1/2. British, being a gift from the late Board of First Fruits.
In the R. C. divisions the parish forms part of the union or district of Clonallon: a large and elegant chapel in the town is now in progress of erection. There are also places of worship for Presbyterians in connection with the Synod of Ulster and the Remonstrant Synod, the latter of the third class; also for Wesleyan and Primitive Methodists. A well-constructed school-house for boys and girls, with residences for the master and mistress attached to it, was built by R. Hall, Esq., and endowed by him with an annual income of £30; he also has built and supports a school at Narrowwater; and an infants' school was built and is supported by Mrs. Hall. In these schools about 300 children are instructed.
The extensive ruins of Nuns' island are near the ferry at Narrowwater; they are by some supposed to be the remains of a religious establishment, and by others the ruins of de Lacy's castle.