Newry.ie
Write a comment
Pin It

As part of Newry and Mourne Museum’s contribution to European Heritage Open Days 2021, the Museum Assistants have compiled a virtual walking tour of Newry for the Museum’s Facebook page, highlighting some significant buildings in the City. Here is an edited version of the virtual tour.

Newry Town Hall

Newry Town Hall in the early years of the 20th century.  Newry and Mourne Museum Collection
Newry Town Hall in the early years of the 20th century. Newry and Mourne Museum Collection

We begin our historical tour at the Town Hall. Newry Town Hall, designed by William Batt, was constructed in 1893. The style of the building is broadly Classical. Reputed rivalry between counties Armagh and Down over its location led to the Town Hall being built on a three-arched bridge astride the Clanrye River, the county boundary.

The Town Hall was one of the last works authorised by the Newry Town Commissioners whose crest, dated 1891, can still be seen on the bridge. It contained a spacious auditorium, a Board Room for the Town Commissioners (later used by Newry Urban District Council) and other offices. Further additions were made over the years. An architectural drawing of the Town Hall, dated 1895, is on display in the Museum which illustrates a proposal for the addition of a clock tower to the building. Obviously, this was not carried out. 

Riverside Presbyterian Church

The Riverside Presbyterian Church pictured with canal barges in the Turning Basin (now the Basin Walk Car Park) in 1940. This photograph was taken by Pat Hudson from Kilkeel, who worked in O’Hagan & O’Hare’s chemist’s shop in Newry where his father, John F. Hudson, was manager. Newry and Mourne Museum Collection
The Riverside Presbyterian Church pictured with canal barges in the Turning Basin (now the Basin Walk Car Park) in 1940. This photograph was taken by Pat Hudson from Kilkeel, who worked in O’Hagan & O’Hare’s chemist’s shop in Newry where his father, John F. Hudson, was manager. Newry and Mourne Museum Collection

Not far from the Town Hall is the Riverside Presbyterian Church which was designed by local architect William Barre in 1865. It was built in the Lombardo – Venetian style which suited its location as it was originally surrounded by the river and the Turning Basin for the barges using Newry Canal. It is built with red brick and has a large circular window in the east and west gables, which exhibit elaborate tracery. The tower is ninety feet high with a pyramid roof of diamond shaped slates. At the time the church cost £1,700 to build. Designed by Samuel Wilson Reside, the Lyons Memorial Hall was added to the rear of the church in 1915.

Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Church

A winter view of the Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Church in John Mitchel Place. The organ in the church is said to have been once in St. George’s Chapel Windsor, where it was played by George Frederick Handel. Courtesy of William McAlpine
A winter view of the Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Church in John Mitchel Place. The organ in the church is said to have been once in St. George’s Chapel Windsor, where it was played by George Frederick Handel. Courtesy of William McAlpine

Designed by Thomas Duff, a pupil of William Barre, the Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Church in John Mitchell Place was completed in 1853. It is built using local granite in a style known as “Geometric Decorated Gothic.” It has a tower with a spire and pointed-arched windows as well as a gable window at the west end with five lights, with richly traceried heads and moulded mullions. 

The building provided a change from the conventional barn-like structure of most Presbyterian Meeting Houses. It has been recognized ever since as one of the finest Presbyterian churches in Ulster because of its compact structure and aesthetic proportions, inspiring a new style for dissenting communities all over Ireland.

St. Patrick’s Parish Church

St. Patrick’s Church in the 1900s. Located on a hill above Newry, it commands good views of the town. Newry and Mourne Museum Collection
St. Patrick’s Church in the 1900s. Located on a hill above Newry, it commands good views of the town. Newry and Mourne Museum Collection

St. Patrick’s Parish Church is said to be the first purpose-built Protestant church in Ireland. The earliest part of the building was built by Sir Nicholas Bagenal in 1578. The church was almost destroyed in 1641 and was not fully restored until 1866. The church was built using granite and is noted for its unusual tower, consisting of a small steeple on each corner of the clock tower. Dean Jonathan Swift is said to have preached in this church during visits to Newry and may have led to his comment on Newry, ‘High Church, Low Steeple; Dirty Streets, Proud People’.

The Danske Bank building on Hill Street 

Marcus Square and Hill Street in the 1900s with the Belfast Banking Company (now the Danske Bank) building on the left of the picture.  Newry and Mourne Museum Collection
Marcus Square and Hill Street in the 1900s with the Belfast Banking Company (now the Danske Bank) building on the left of the picture. Newry and Mourne Museum Collection

Originally constructed in 1890 as a branch of the Belfast Banking Company, the Danske Bank building was built in Gothic Revival with heavy Gothic embellishments. It comprises three stories with attics. One of the more distinctive features are the projecting balconies. The Belfast Banking Company name can still be seen over the main entrance. 

It was designed by William Watson who had opened an office in Newry by the beginning of 1872 and developed what appears to have been a thriving and varied practice. Other notable works by Watson in the area include the Wesleyan (Methodist) Church, built in Warrenpoint in 1885 and Bessbrook Town Hall built in 1886. The last recorded work in the area by Watson, was a shelter in Warrenpoint Park in 1909. Around this date he moved to London. 

The Cathedral of St. Patrick and St. Colman

Nave and chancel of the Cathedral of SS Patrick and Colman. The interior is famous for its Italian mosaics. Courtesy of William McAlpine
Nave and chancel of the Cathedral of SS Patrick and Colman. The interior is famous for its Italian mosaics. Courtesy of William McAlpine

The Cathedral is one of Newry’s most impressive building and was designed by the well-known Newry architect, Thomas Duff, who designed Narrow Water Castle and the Catholic Cathedrals in Dundalk and Armagh.

The building was completed by 1829, using local granite at a cost of £8,000 and was the first Catholic Cathedral in Ireland to open after the granting of Catholic Emancipation in the same year. The tower and transept were added in 1888 while, in 1904, the nave was extended. The Cathedral is renowned for its beautiful interior marble work and mosaics which took five years to complete with craftsmen coming from Italy to undertake the work.

Bagenal’s Castle/Newry and Mourne Museum

Newry and Mourne Museum. The original street front of the warehouse, with the lettering Arthur McCann Limited, still survives while Bagenal’s Castle, rediscovered after McCann’s Bakery closed, can be seen at the rear of the complex to the right of the warehouse. Newry and Mourne Museum Collection
Newry and Mourne Museum. The original street front of the warehouse, with the lettering Arthur McCann Limited, still survives while Bagenal’s Castle, rediscovered after McCann’s Bakery closed, can be seen at the rear of the complex to the right of the warehouse. Newry and Mourne Museum Collection

Bagenal’s Castle was built by Sir Nicholas Bagenal, an English settler from Staffordshire by the 1570s. The building is an early example of a fortified house. A warehouse was built onto the Castle around 1830 and was occupied by Joseph Doyle, a seed merchant and florist. 

Arthur McCann Limited bought the site described in the deeds as ‘Castle, Orchard and Garden’in 1894 as new premises for the Victoria Bakery. Over the years many alterations have been made to the building to accommodate McCann's expanding business. 

The alterations disguised the origins of the building and for many years the only clue to the site's significance was the medieval stone carvings preserved in the Bakery's walls. The Castle was rediscovered in the mid-1990s after the Bakery closed and, after substantial restoration, became the home of Newry and Mourne Museum in 2007.

The virtual walking tour of Newry can be accessed at WWW.FACEBOOK.COM

The Museum is currently offering free tours of the exhibition galleries on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 11.00 am. These must be booked in advance by calling our Education Officer at 0330 137 4422.

Newry and Mourne Museum is open Tuesday – Saturday 10.00 am – 4.30 pm. Please call 0330 137 4422 or email museum@nmandd.org for further information.

by Joanne Glymond, Noelle Murtagh, Dympna Tumilty and Anna Savage

 

Say something here...
or post as a guest
Loading comment... The comment will be refreshed after 00:00.

Be the first to comment.

DONATE TO NEWRY.IE

Please consider supporting Newry.ie

Amount
Newry.ie require Cookies on some parts of our site to enable full functionality. By using Newry.ie you consent to our use of Cookies. You can use your browser settings to disable cookies on this or any other website.