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Newcastle is a small seaside resort in County Down, Northern Ireland, which had a population of 7,444 at the 2001 Census. It lies on the Irish Sea at the foot 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 Newry, Mourne and Down District Council area.
Newcastle – 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 benefited 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.
Newcastle: Places of interest
- The Mourne Mountains lie south of the town and the local area includes the Tollymore Forest Park and Donard Park. The Shimna River flows through Tollymore Park and enters the sea at Newcastle
- The Murlough Nature Reserve is situated between Dundrum and Newcastle. The rugged sand dunes and beach are National Trust property.
- Slidderyford Dolmen is a neolithic portal tomb located near the entrance to Murlough Nature Reserve. It is composed of four stones, two granite and two slate.
- Saint Patrick’s Stream – in popular mythology, the Mourne Mountains was the site where Saint Patrick banished the ‘snakes’ from Ireland, and that in his first landings to Ireland he visited the Mournes and even converted the local hill folk to Christianity. The small stream is said to mark the boundary of the Kingdom of Mourne and legend has it that there is a rock in the stream with his hand print in it where he knelt down to drink the water.
- Newcastle Harbour – In the 1820 Lord Annesley created a pier as a loading point for the famous Mourne granite.
- The Bloody Bridge – The bridge and the Bloody Bridge River, were so named because of an incident during the 1641 Rebellion, during which a massacre of Protestants took place. The bridge is sometimes visited by tourists who go to see the ‘Brandy Pad’, called after the trade of illegal brandy which was smuggled down this route and from there onwards at the dead of night to Hilltown. The remains of an ancient church and the old bridge which once carried the coast road can still be seen.
- Widows Row. A set of listed cottages just south of the harbour, built by public subscription after the Newcastle Fishing disaster of 1843.