Gateway to the North
The name ‘Newry’ is derived from ‘Iubhair Cinn Tragh’ (which translates as the Yew tree at the head of the strand). The connection with the yew tree relates to an apocryphal story where it is thought St. Patrick planted a yew tree along the Clanrye River in the 5th Century when he set up camp alongside it.The dark green fronds of the yew tree were believed to have been a symbol of growing faith, as they pointed towards the heavens. St. Patrick is credited with planting the first religious foundations in Newry, as he founded a monastery,which was built beside the yew tree.
the maritime importance of the town was enhanced by the completion of the Newry Canal in 1742, famous for being the first summit-level canal in the British Isles. It was primarily built to transport coal from Tyrone to Dublin as a means of reducing reliance on imports of costly coal from Britain. After an initial period of productivity, output declined and the coal mines closed down. The most successful period of the canal was during the 1840’s when a variety of goods such as linen, butter, meat, coal, bricks and tiles were sent downstream to Newry, with a reverse traffic of grain, flour, flax seed, imported foodstuffs, whiskey, timber, oil and tobacco carried into mid-Ulster. For over a hundred years Newry became the busiest port in the north, transporting it from small port to an international trading centre, trading with America and Europe.
In 1829, work was completed on the Cathedral of St Patrick and St Colman. Located on Hill Street, it was the first Catholic Cathedral of its kind to be opened after Catholic Emancipation, a cause championed by Daniel O’Connell.
As well as being a significant city for business, Newry is also a bustling centre for the arts. The Sean Hollywood Arts Centre is situated in the centre of Newry, with two theatres, art Galleries and numerous dance studios, which host various plays and musical events.