Carlingford is a magical village, full of character and is one of the best preserved medieval villages in Ireland. Its history, narrow medieval streets, lanes that lead to the harbour, majestic Slieve Foye mountain and the famous mountains of Mourne across the Lough all combine to make Carlingford unique in Ireland.
Carlingford Heritage Centre is your one-stop shop for everything you need to know about our history, our magnificent Medieval buildings and the Life and Times of the people of Carlingford.
The natural beauty can equally be appreciated on land or sea. Guided Walking tTurs, walking or cycling along the Carlingford Lough Greenway, hill walking in the Cooley Mountains, horse trekking, sailing, canoeing and a variety of water sports can all be enjoyed here.
Carlingford and the Cooley Peninsula has a host of reputable restaurants, cosy pubs and great accommodation. Visitors can enjoy the spectacular panoramic views, taste the famous Carlingford Oysters and listen to the wealth of myths and legends which make this area unforgettable.
For a great video of King John's Castle (now also known as Carlingford Castle), visit 'National Monuments from the Air on Facebook
Click On Attached Link : https://carlingford.ie/local-history/
Well Worth A Watch
Have you have ever wondered about the ship that is permanently moored in Carlingford Marina ? You can see her from the Marina complex or from the balcony of Rabelo and maybe like me, you didn't really notice her as she provides the hub of the jetty and pontoon infrastructure ?
Cretegaff is no ordinary ship – she is a ship built of concrete !
It transpires that the ship in Carlingford Marina, #Crategaff, is the last surviving floating example of a concrete ship of its type. During World War 1, an acute shortage of steel led the British Government in 1917 to instigate a construction programme for 154 concrete vessels to be built by different shipyards around the UK at a cost of £4 million, the equivalent of £180 million in today’s money. The signing of the Armistice on 11th November 1918 brought an end to the war and to the need to construct ships in such ‘alternative materials’.
By the end of 1920, 12 concrete tugs and 54 concrete barges had been completed and launched before the construction programme was cancelled
Today, few survive and only one of the Tugs and one of the Barges is in use - Cretegaff, the Tug, in Carlingford Marina and Cretetree, a barge on the Island of Scalpay used as a fishing net store. Others - effectively wrecks - are still visible in various parts of Europe. Best known are Creteboom that lies on the River Moy at Ballina and Cretehawser that sits on the side of the River Wear near Sunderland. Creteboom is a tourist attraction over at Ballina, with boat trips to look at her and lots of photographs of her taken by camera and drone.
Unfortunately, you cannot go aboard Cretegaff but you can look at her from close range and wonder, as I did, how do concrete ships float ! If Archimedes could work it out in the 3rd Century BC, I'm sure we can manage it now ? Here's your 'starter for ten' - 'A ship will float when the weight of the water it displaces equals the weight of the shipand anything will float if it is shaped to displace its own weight of water before it reaches the point where it will submerge' - Eureka !!
From 1937 until 1988 when she was brought to Carlingford, Cretegaff was known as 'The Lady Boyne' and resided in Drogheda. She was much loved by some - and considered an eyesore by others. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder as they say . .It is fair to say that having been salvaged, refloated and repurposed by Carlingford Marina, her future has been assured. She is a unique historic ship and she is here, in Carlingford
If you want to know more about the concrete ships and the Cretegaff in particular, you can visit a website dedicated to the The Crete Fleet
The Carlingford Lough Greenway runs along the track-bed of the Dundalk, Newry & Greenore Railway. There are many remnants and relics of the railway visible today aside from the Greenway itself that is running along a section of the railway line itself. You can see many of the piers from the level crossings, bridges that traversed streams and rivers, old railway cottages (some now part of modern buildings) and in Omeath, Omeath Railway Stations itself. In Carlingford itself, the old railway station - Station House - is fully restored and in use today. Castle Bridge by King John's Castle was built by the railway company.
The Dundalk, Newry and Greenore Railway (DN&GR for short) was an Irish gauge railway conceived in the 1860s to provide a link between Dundalk to Greenore (completed 1873) and Greenore to Newry (completed 1876). Many villages along the line were connected by the railway but probably most significantly, the London and Northwestern Railway company built the port at Greenore and the Greenore village itself to operate a ferry service to Holyhead. There was a fine Victorian hotel at the port - now demolished - with a railway station within the hotel itself. In its day, the Greenore to Holyhead ferry service connected to the railway systems in Ireland and England and was THE fastest way to travel from Belfast to London.
Unfortunately, the railway was said never to have made any money - possibly it did in one or two isolated years - but when the last train terminated at Greenore on 31st December 1951, the investors and debenture holders were left nursing a big loss. Arguably however, since Greenore exists as a village today and so too the Carlingford Lough Greenway, the DN&GR investors were 'Paying it Forward' so that we can now enjoy what remains of this impressive 42 km railway line ! The DN&GR was dissolved in 1957 by an Act of Parliament
The railway company of course possessed a lot of assets at the time of closure - land, viaducts built of steel and stone, steel rails, wooden sleepers, steam trains, carriages, properties and much of this was salvaged, sold, recycled. What is left to day is the legacy of the vision and foresight of that Victorian age. The more that you explore and trace the line from Dundalk to Greenore to Newry, the more you recognize just how much is still there today and has been re-used and re-purposed. Spend an evening on Google Earth tracing the line from Quay Street Station in Dundalk to Greenore and then on to Newry. Some parts have disappeared under new builds but it left an indelible mark on the landscape for the rest of time and created the foundation of Greenways we have today and of Greenways to come soon. Thank you DN&GR !
If you are interested in the history of the DN&G Railway, there are many resources on the internet but one of the best is available from the Louth County Council website https://www.louthcoco.ie/en/services/heritage/publications/railwayheritagerecordingreaserch.pdf
President Joe Biden has deep ancestral roots right here in the Cooley Peninsula, Whitestown to be precise.
Joseph Robinette Biden Jnr - or Cousin Joe Biden as he is known to many of the locals round here - is the 46th President of the United States. Whilst he was serving as Vice President to Barack Obama between 2009 to 2017 in 2016 he came over to Ireland on an official visit. (He actually returned soon after on a private visit and went back to his favorite pub, Lily Finnegan's in Whitestown. The proof is shown above - nice one Derek !)
President Biden talks often about his strong Irish roots and ancestors so here's the proof :-
Born on 20 November 1942, Joseph Robinette Biden Jnr was the first born of Joseph Robinette Biden Sr. and Catherine Eugenia Finnegan. Catherine was known as 'Jean' and her ancestry is purely Irish, tracing back to the years of mass emigration at the time of the Great Famine.
Jean was the daughter of Ambrose Joseph Finnegan and Geraldine Catherine Blewitt, both children of Irish immigrants. Joe Biden’s Great-Great Grandfather (one of !) was Owen Finnegan and he lived in Whitestown, here on the Cooley Peninsula, Owen married Jean Boyle in 1839 and in 1840, James Finnegan, Joe Biden’s Great Grandfather was born. He married Catherine Roche and their son, Ambrose Joseph Finnegan was born in 1885, was Ambrose Joseph Finnegan, Joe Biden’s maternal grandfather. Ambrose married Geraldine Blewitt, herself of Irish ancestry tracing to Ballina, County Mayo.
To put all of that a lot more simply and tracing President Biden's Cooley Peninsula lineage :-
Owen Finnegan & Jean Boyle
James Finnegan & Catherine Roche
Ambrose Finnegan & Geraldine Catherine Blewitt
Joseph Robinette Biden Sr. & Catherine Eugenia (Jean) Finnegan
President Joe Biden
When Vice President Joe Biden visited Ireland in 2016, his itinerary included the Medieval Town of Carlingford & Fitzpatricks's in Jenkinstown for lunch. recognizing his close links to the birthplace go his ancestors, he took time out to have a pint with his cousins and locals at Lily Finnegan''s in Whitestown, the birthplace of his Great Great Grandfather.
Reputedly he was asked by a Secret Service Agent "Where am I ? "
"Man, you're in heaven ! " replied Joe Biden
Carlingford Lough is a glacial fiord or sea inlet which has been the scene of human settlement since prehistoric times. The Old Irish name for the inlet was Suám Aignech (‘swift sea-channel or fiord) while Carlingford is of Viking origin meaning ‘lake of the hag-shaped rock’. Prehistoric monuments such as Clermont Cairn attest to prehistoric settlers in the area. The Early Christian period saw several monastic settlements becoming established in the Carlingford Lough region, Kilbroney on the northern shore, Killanansnamh in the townland of Cornamucklagh on the southern shore and the important monastery at Killeavy at the bottom of Slieve Gullion.The sea inlet attracted the attention of the Vikings in the 9th century. They gave the inlet a new name and appear to have used the area as a base from which to raid other parts of Ireland. In 841, for example, Tristledermot in Meath was destroyed by the Vikings of Narrow Water (Caol Uisce). They also attacked Armagh and, in 923, the monastery at Killeavy was raided.
The strategic significance of Carlingford Lough was also recognised when the Anglo-Normans arrived in Ireland in the late 1100s. Understanding the importance of fortresses in defence, two castles were constructed at the mouth of Lough, one on the northern shore and another on the southern shore, ensuring that the Normans had control over access from the sea. On the southern shore, King John’s Castle was constructed which was named after King John who visited Carlingford in 1210. A town grew up around the castle which became the main port on Carlingford Lough.
Greencastle was constructed on the northern shore during the mid-13th century. Greencastle was captured in 1316 by Edward Bruce and further attacks meant that it had fallen into disrepair by the 15th century. It was eventually granted to Nicholas Bagenal in 1552 along with the lands of the former Cistercian abbey at Newry and the Dominican priory at Carlingford. This grant paved the way for Newry to become the largest urban centre in the Carlingford Lough area.
In the years after the opening of
Newry Canal in 1742, Newry replaced Carlingford as the main port on Carlingford Lough and became the fourth largest in Ireland. Development of Warrenpoint and Rostrevor as highly successful holiday destinations was stimulated by the opening of the Newry-Warrenpoint railway in 1849 and the opening of the Dundalk, Newry and Greenore Railway in the 1870s meant that the area was linked to a ferry service to Holyhead from Greenore.
Despite its appeal to shipping, Carlingford Lough is hazardous to ships and has seen various disasters over the years. The most famous was the Connemara/Retriever disaster in November 1916 which resulted in the death of 94 people.
Since the end of World War II there have been many changes in the Carlingford Lough area especially with the closure of the local railways in the 1950s and 1960s and the moving of ship handling facilities from Newry to Warrenpoint in the early 1970s.Tourism is now a big factor in the local economy and the Lough was designated as a Marine Conservation Zone in 2016.