County Down

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County Down
Contae an Dúin
Coontie Doon / Countie Doun
Coat of arms of County Down
Coat of arms
Motto: Absque Labore Nihil  (Latin)
"Nothing Without Labour"
Location of County Down
CountryUnited Kingdom
RegionNorthern Ireland
ProvinceUlster
County townDownpatrick
Area
 • Total952 sq mi (2,466 km2)
Area rank12th
Population (2011)531,665
 • Rank3rd
Contae an Dúin is the Irish name, Countie Doun[1] and Coontie Doon[2] are Ulster Scots spellings.
 
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County Down
Contae an Dúin
Coontie Doon / Countie Doun
Coat of arms of County Down
Coat of arms
Motto: Absque Labore Nihil  (Latin)
"Nothing Without Labour"
Location of County Down
CountryUnited Kingdom
RegionNorthern Ireland
ProvinceUlster
County townDownpatrick
Area
 • Total952 sq mi (2,466 km2)
Area rank12th
Population (2011)531,665
 • Rank3rd
Contae an Dúin is the Irish name, Countie Doun[1] and Coontie Doon[2] are Ulster Scots spellings.

County Down (named after its county town, Downpatrick)[3][4] is one of six counties that form Northern Ireland, situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland. Adjoined to the south-east shore of Lough Neagh, the county covers an area of 2,448 km² and has a population of about 531,665. It is also one of the thirty-two traditional counties of Ireland and is within the province of Ulster.

The county was archaically called Downshire. It borders County Antrim to the north, the Irish Sea to the east and south, County Armagh to the west, and County Louth to the southwest. In the east of the county is Strangford Lough and the Ards Peninsula. The largest town is Bangor, on the northeast coast. Three other large towns and cities are on its border: Newry lies on the western border with County Armagh, while Lisburn and Belfast lie on the northern border with County Antrim. Down contains both the southernmost point of Northern Ireland (Cranfield Point) and the easternmost point of Ireland (Burr Point).

It is currently one of only two counties of Ireland to have a majority of the population from a Protestant community background, according to the 2001 census. The other is County Antrim.

Geography[edit]

Mourne Mountains

Down contains two significant peninsulas: Ards Peninsula and Lecale peninsula.

The county has a coastline along Belfast Lough to the north and Carlingford Lough to the south (both of which have access to the sea). Strangford Lough lies between the Ards Peninsula and the mainland. Down also contains part of the shore of Lough Neagh. Smaller loughs include Lough Island Reavy.

The River Lagan forms most of the border with County Antrim. The River Bann also flows through the southwestern areas of the county. Other rivers include the Clanrye and Quoile.

There are several islands off the Down coast: Mew Island, Light House Island and the Copeland Islands, all of which lie to the north of the Ards Peninsula. Gunn Island lies off the Lecale coast. In addition there are a large number of small islands in Strangford Lough.

County Down is where, in the words of the famous song by Percy French, "The mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea", and the granite Mourne Mountains continue to be renowned for their beauty. Slieve Donard, at 849 m (2,785 ft), is the highest peak in the Mournes and in Northern Ireland. Another important peak is Slieve Croob, at 534 m (1,752 ft), the source of the River Lagan.

Places of interest[edit]

King John's Castle on Carlingford Lough.

Settlements[edit]

Cities[edit]

(population of 75,000 or more at 2001 Census)[12]

Large towns[edit]

(population of 18,000 or more and under 75,000 at 2001 Census)[12]

Medium towns[edit]

(population of 10,000 or more and under 18,000 at 2001 Census)[12]

Small towns[edit]

(population of 4,500 or more and under 10,000 at 2001 Census)[12]

Intermediate settlements[edit]

(population of 2,250 or more and under 4,500 at 2001 Census)[12]

Villages[edit]

(population of 1,000 or more and under 2,250 at 2001 Census)[12]

Subdivisions[edit]

Baronies

Main article: Baronies of Ireland

Parishes

Townlands

Sport[edit]

Football[edit]

In association football, the NIFL Premiership, which operates as the top division, has one teams in the county: Warrenpoint Town F.C., with Ards F.C., Banbridge Town F.C., Bangor F.C. and Lisburn Distillery F.C. competing in the NIFL Championship, which operates as levels two and three.

Gaelic games[edit]

The Down County Board administers Gaelic games in the county. Down is the most successful team north of the border in terms of All-Ireland Senior Football Championships won with 5 in total. In terms of Ulster they share that accolade with Cavan who also have 5 titles. They currently have four minor all Ireland titles (1977, 1987, 1999 and 2005), twelve Ulster titles (1959, 1960, 1961, 1963, 1965, 1966, 1968, 1971, 1978, 1981, 1991, 1994) and one under 21 all Ireland title (1979).:)

Golf[edit]

County Down is also home to the No.1-ranked golf course outside of the US, according to Today's Golfer, Royal County Down, which is situated in Newcastle.

Currently ranked No.6 golfer in the world, Rory McIlroy originates from Holywood, situated in the north of the county.

Popular culture[edit]

The county is named in the lyrics of the song "Around The World", from the film Around the World in 80 Days, which was an American top ten hit for Bing Crosby and UK top ten hit for Ronnie Hilton, both in 1957, although it was Mantovani's instrumental version which was actually used in the film. Rihanna's video "We Found Love" was filmed there in 2011.[citation needed]

The Northern Irish singer Van Morrison has made reference to the County Down in the lyrics to two songs, "Northern Muse (Solid Ground)" and "Mystic of the East."

21st century railways[edit]

Historic railways[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ 2008 Annual Report in Ulster Scots North–South Ministerial Council.
  2. ^ 2006 Annual Report in Ulster Scots North–South Ministerial Council.
  3. ^ Taylor, Isaac. Names and Their Histories. Rivingtons, 1898. p.111
  4. ^ Lewis, Samuel. A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland (1837); "The See of Down".
  5. ^ Crawfordsburn Old Inn website
  6. ^ For 1653 and 1659 figures from Civil Survey Census of those years, Paper of Mr Hardinge to Royal Irish Academy 14 March 1865.
  7. ^ Census for post 1821 figures.
  8. ^ Histpop.org
  9. ^ NISRA.gov.uk
  10. ^ Lee, JJ (1981). "On the accuracy of the Pre-famine Irish censuses". In Goldstrom, J. M.; Clarkson, L. A. Irish Population, Economy, and Society: Essays in Honour of the Late K. H. Connell. Oxford, England: Clarendon Press. 
  11. ^ Mokyr, Joel; O Grada, Cormac (November 1984). "New Developments in Irish Population History, 1700–1850". The Economic History Review 37 (4): 473–488. doi:10.1111/j.1468-0289.1984.tb00344.x. 
  12. ^ a b c d e f g "Statistical classification of settlements". NI Neighbourhood Information Service. Retrieved 23 February 2009. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]