Narrow Water Castle

On the road from Newry to Ross-trevor, stands the pretty CASTLE OF NARROW-WATER, situated most picturesquely among the graceful mountains of Ulster, on the river Newry. The broad surface of the river is here contracted by a protruding rock, on whose surface stands the castle, in a position that enables it to command, in the most entire manner, the only pass to the town of Newry.

Narrow Water Castle, County Down

Narrow Water Castle, Newry River

The date of its foundation is not precisely known, but it was subsequent to the Restoration, and its erection is ascribed to the Duke of Ormond. When its defensive properties were no longer necessary, it was abandoned to a commercial speculator, who established salt-works within it, and upon their removal, it was occupied for some time as a dog-kennel. This interior desecration has not detracted from the permanent beauty that accompanies its position, nor impaired the majesty of its exterior form. The contraction of the channel rendered this an advantageous place for the establishment of a castle, for the defence of a pass, or the exaction of toll; and it is supposed that the founder constructed a causeway of large stones, with an opening for vessels in the centre, directly across the river at this spot. The rocks used in its construction continued to interrupt the navigation for many years back, and engineers were consulted upon the practicability and expense of their removal; but, considering it to be a natural formation, they represented the task as difficult, and returned an estimate in proportion. Accident discovered the true character of the rocky bar, which, in the year 1831, was removed at a trifling expense, and the navigation opened from the sea to Newry.