Saturday, 22 January 2022

Warrenpoint Park

WARRENPOINT, County Down, stands at the mouth of the river Newry into the head of Carlingford Lough, and on the road from Newry to Kilkeel.

It is three miles west of Rostrevor, seven miles south-south-east of Newry, and 44 miles south-south-west of Belfast.

Its location affords brilliant and noble scenery; and, in particular, commands a splendid prospect eastward of Rostrevor and the Mourne mountains.

The town comprises a square and several radiating streets, though appears from some vantage-points to extend simply along the edge of the water.

It has been almost entirely built since 1780, and has the remains of a large windmill which still stands close to the town centre.

A rabbit warren once existed on the shore and it would seem reasonable to assume that the town takes its name from that warren.

The nearest country seat is NARROW WATER CASTLE.

Image: WA Green/Ulster Museum

The municipal park at Warrenpoint, County Down, was awarded a heritage lottery grant of £932,000 in 2018.

It was one of fifteen historic parks and cemeteries across the United Kingdom to achieve the funding.

Opened in 1906, many of the park's original features are deteriorating and were in danger of being lost.

This project conserved the listed bandstand, restored the 1930s pavilion and regenerated the gardens, paths and walkways.

More recent additions such as the play park, tennis courts and events space were also refurbished and modernised.

This is a fine example of a typical Victorian public park, though laid out from 1900.

It retains many original features and plants, yet successfully incorporates later intrusions such as the Children’s Playground.

It lies in a mild spot close to the waters of Carlingford Lough but is sheltered by buildings.

Mature trees surround the park on the three sides and edge the formal central cross paths.

Solid wall-mounted iron railings enclose the whole.

On slightly rising ground to the north west, there are circulating paths, lawns, neat shrub borders and well dug beds of seasonal bedding plants.

The park was designed by Thomas Smith of the Daisy Hill Nursery, Newry.

The central bandstand of 1907 is elaborately decorated.

Wooden rose pergolas give vertical interest.

Tennis courts lie on flat ground at the south west end.

The toilet block, lodge and gardener’s bothy are early buildings.

First published in January, 2014.

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