A – Z OF THE UNITED KINGDOM
N is for Narrow Water Castle
Today we travel across the sea to Northern Ireland
Narrow Water Castle in County Down, Northern Ireland
Narrow Water Castle is a 16th Century tower house and bawn* near Warrenpoint in Northern Ireland. Narrow Water Keep lies on the Co. Down bank of the Newry River, which enters Carlingford Lough a mile to the south.
*A bawn is the defensive wall surrounding the tower hour and its original purpose wa to protect cattle from attack. They include trenches that were often strengthened with stakes or hedges which were gradually replaced by walls.
|This is a file from the Wikimedia Commons|
Narrow Water Keep is beside the A2 dual carriage road on the Co. Down bank of the Newry River, which enters Carlingford Lough a mile to the south. In 1670 it was sold to Francis Hall and the family owned it until 1956, since then it has been a state care historic monument in the townland of Narrow Water in the Newry and Mourne District. It guards the narrowest point on Carlingford Lough. Parking is permitted on the hard shoulder outside the castle.
The entrance to the Keep
There has been a keep on this site since 1212. It was originally built by Hugh deLacy, Earl of Ulster, as part of the Norman fortifications, to prevent attacks on Newry via the river. The castle was destroyed in the 1641 Rebellion.
Although apparently built for
military purposes, Narrow Water Castle is a typical example of the tower houses
found throughout Ireland from the 15th until the earlier 17th century. This
form of building, normally rectangular in plan and three or more storeys high,
comprised a series of superimposed chambers, with stairs, closets and latrines
skilfully contrived within the walls or sometimes contained in projecting angle
Narrow Water Castle, looking south (the road is to the left of the picture)
This is a file from the Wikimedia Commons
In 1744 till at least 1819 a saltworks was built inside the walls and in 1834 it was used as kennels.
Narrow Water Castle was selected to become part of a unique Royal Mail stamp collection.
Unfortunately it was also the area where the British Army suffered its greatest single casualty toll in the Troubles when eighteen soldiers were killed when two IRA bombs exploded close to the castle in 1979.
We need to stop and stay a minute
Say a prayer and be quiet
Take in the memories of our poor soldiers
The why’s we will never know the answers
Thirty five years have gone and passed
Others have stood and remembered the blast
The bombs that detonated and sealed the fate
On that day in August in 1979 of 18 dear men
Good soldiers doing their jobs everyone of them
The Troubles carried on for a few more years
More lives taken in vain and lost
The men and their families paid a very high cost
An aerial view of the scene of Narrow Water, where 18 British soldiers were killed by a double bomb attack in 1979.