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  • Irish: An Pointe / Pointe an Bháirínigh
Warrenpoint, July 2010 (02).JPG
Warrenpoint from Slieve Martin on the County Down side of Carlingford Lough
Warrenpoint is located in Northern Ireland
Population 8,732 (2011 Census)
Irish grid reference J145180
  • Newry, Mourne and Down
Country Northern Ireland
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town NEWRY
Postcode district BT34
Dialling code 028, +44 28
EU Parliament Northern Ireland
UK Parliament
  • South Down
NI Assembly
  • South Down
List of places
Northern Ireland
54°05′57″N 6°14′56″W / 54.099095°N 6.24899°W / 54.099095; -6.24899

Warrenpoint (Irish: An Pointe) is a small port town and civil parish in County Down, Northern Ireland. It sits at the head of Carlingford Lough, south of Newry, and is separated from the Republic of Ireland by a narrow strait. The town is beside the village of Rostrevor and is overlooked by the Mournes and Cooley Mountains. Warrenpoint sprang up within the townland of Ringmackilroy (from Irish Rinn Mhic Giolla Ruaidh, meaning 'McIlroy's point'), and is locally nicknamed "The Point".

Warrenpoint is known for its scenic location, the Maiden of Mourne festival, the Blues on the Bay music festival, the passenger ferry service between Warrenpoint and Omeath and the nearby Narrow Water Castle. Warrenpoint Port is second in terms of tonnage handled by ports in Northern Ireland. It had a population of 8,732 at the 2011 Census.


What is now Warrenpoint long consisted of a small number of basic dwellings inhabited by people reliant on fishing for their survival and sustenance.

The name "Warrenpoint" is now believed to have been taken from the name of a family that lived here around the latter half of the 18th century. Father Bernard Trainor (who had an interest in place names of the area) mentioned that a family called "Waring" lived here and had a house called "Warings Point". In Irish the place name is Rinn Mhic Ghiolla Rua (McIlroy's Point). The name Ringmackilroy may be seen on some maps. The shortened form is An Phointe. Warrenpoint is often referred to simply as The Point.

Walter Harris in 1744 stated that "Warrings Point" is about a mile or so North West of Rose Trevor.

Its scenic beauty and coastal location elicited rapid development so that the population in 1824 was 500, in 1831 was 1,000 and in 1884 2000 rising to 5000 in the summer with the influx of visitors. In 1836 there was a school, a court house, a savings bank and a farming society.

Fairs were held once a month and a market every Friday. In the mid-19th century, Newry merchants obtained a government grant to create a tidal dock at the village, as prior to 1850 ships of above 150 tonnes could not get further up the lough than Narrow Water.

A railway connection opened on 9 May 1849, increasing Warrenpoint's popularity as a holiday destination. and Warrenpoint became popular as a resort town. Thousands flocked to the resort every year, where most took the passenger ferry to Omeath in County Louth. The Warrenpoint railway station closed in January 1965. The Ferry remains in operation but only in the summer months from May to September.

A bandstand in the town park provided concerts and a swimming pool was built in 1908. The baths were opened by Captain Roger Hall on Whit Monday, 8 June in that year, but they are now closed to the public.

Warrenpoint Pantomime Club, established in 1950, has staged 60 highly popular pantomimes in the town, the latest being "Beauty and the Beast in 2016".

Warrenpoint from the Clermont Pass Road
Warrenpoint from the Cooley Mountains on the County Louth side of Carlingford Lough
Warrenpoint pier
Standing at warrenpoint pier, we are looking at Northern Ireland to the left and Republic of Ireland to the right of the Carlingford Lough's estuary
Carlingford Lough separating Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland

On 6 February 1921, during the Irish War of Independence, the Irish Republican Army ambushed an Ulster Special Constabulary (USC) patrol in Warrenpoint. The ambush took place on Seaview Road and one USC constable was killed.

On 15 July 1944, two Royal Air Force aircraft (an Airspeed Oxford (LX 598) and a Miles Martinet (MS626) from No. 290 Squadron RAF) were taking part in a civil defence demonstration at Warrenpoint. In misty conditions the planes collided, the pilots only having seen each other at the last minute. The resultant explosion killed all on board, and pieces of the planes fell onto Church Street, Duke Street and Queen Street and into Carlingford Lough. The bodies of the airmen were recovered and taken to the mortuary in Newry.

On 27 August 1979, during "the Troubles", the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) ambushed a British Army convoy at nearby Narrow Water Castle. Eighteen soldiers were killed – the British Army's greatest loss-of-life in a single incident during the conflict. This is often called the Warrenpoint ambush. British soldiers then fired south across the border into County Louth, towards the location of their assumed attackers. This British Army fire killed a young English tourist, William Hudson, who had been watching the scene from Lower Ferryhill Road, where a (broken) memorial to him is now located.

On 12 April 1989, Joanne Reilly was killed by the IRA in a van bomb attack on Warrenpoint Royal Ulster Constabulary base. Inadequate warning was given.


On Census Day (27 March 2011) the usually resident population of Warrenpoint/Burren was 8,732 accounting for 0.48% of the NI total. Of these:

  • 99.19% were from the white (including Irish Traveller) ethnic group
  • 87.72% belong to or were brought up Catholic and 9.57% belong to or were brought up in a 'Protestant and other (non-Catholic) Christian (including Christian related)'
  • 13.80% indicated that they had a British national identity, 56.33% had an Irish national identity and 29.74% had a Northern Irish national identity.

Places of interest

Narrow Water Castle just outside the town is a three-storey tower house built in 1560 to protect the entrance to the Newry river estuary. Across the road, to the east, is the new Narrow Water Castle, really a stately home, built in 1840.

Warrenpoint red sky
Carlingford Lough at dawn

Today a small but modern passenger ferry service operates out of Warrenpoint to the village of Omeath in County Louth. The trip takes about fifteen minutes. Other cruises include trips to Narrow Water Castle, Ross Monument Rostrevor and Bay & Harbour Cruises.

Two small inland lakes, the "Mill Dam" and the "Waterworks" offer a variety of fishing opportunities. A permit is needed to fish these lakes, which are located about 1 mile from the town centre.

Warrenpoint Promenade was used as a backdrop for Bundoran in the film The Butcher Boy, especially the exterior of the Star of the Sea Convent and the Edwardian swimming baths.

Civil parish of Warrenpoint

The civil parish contains the town of Warrenpoint.


The civil parish contains the following townlands: Dromore, Narrow Water, Ringmackilroy.


St Dallan's Primary School, a Catholic primary school of about 700 pupils, was opened in September 2000 by the then Education Minister Martin McGuinness. Formed from the merger of the Star of the Sea and St. Peters Primary Schools, it was built on the site of the former St. Peters Primary School.

Other schools in the area include Dromore Road Primary School and St Mark's High School.

Notable residents

  • George Gardiner (1821-1891) - recipient of the Victoria Cross
  • Thomas Caulfield Irwin (1823-1892) - poet, writer, and classical scholar; born in Warrenpoint
  • Forrest Reid (1875-1947) - writer and literary critic; died in Warrenpoint
  • Denis Donoghue (1928-2021) - literary critic; brought up in Warrenpoint
  • Carmel Hanna (born 1946) - Social Democratic and Labour Party politician
  • Clodagh Rodgers (born 1947) - singer; born in Warrenpoint
  • Vedran Smailović (born 1956) - Bosnian cellist, lives in Warrenpoint
  • Cathal McCabe (born 1963) - poet; grew up in Warrenpoint
  • Ronan Rafferty (born 1964) - golfer

Images for kids

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Warrenpoint para niños

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