In December 1828 the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland appointed a Richard Griffith Esq. to be General Boundary Surveyor to ascertain and mark out the Boundaries of the several Baronies, Parishes and Townlands in Ireland, previously to the Survey being commenced by the Royal Engineer. 

Newry Town Commissioners the forerunners of our Urban Councillors under the Act for lighting and watching etc, adopted in 1828 a boundary, much within the limits of the Borough and afterwards in 1831, finding even this to be too extensive (the expenses of lighting and cleansing the outskirts not being defrayed by the tax levied on the houses there,) they restricted the taxable limits within a still narrower boundary. 

An MB stone at Temple Hill Newry.
An MB stone at Temple Hill Newry.

The Newry boundary or Municipal Boundary was to be marked out with initially eighteen MB stones with the surviving ones still visible today on our roads, footpaths, against walls or inserted into walls. 

Looking back at the old boundary we not only learn about its imaginary line traversing the outskirts of old Newry but it also tells us a little about the terrain, residents and businesses in its route. 

The old Municipal Boundary 

The Municipal Boundary was described as below. "The ditch at Widow Gracy's and "Hugh Campbells garden wall" may have long been lost in history but nevertheless the description provides some useful markers.

Commencing at Lock No. 2, Newry Canal, Townland of Lisdrumgullion; thence across said Canal and along the Newry River in a South direction to the point of junction of small stream running into said river; thence along said stream to the Belfast Road, and thence across said road and along lane running in Easterly direction to the East end of the boundary wall of the Newry Water Works; thence along said wall to its junction with lane on the South side of Water Works; thence along said lane Easterly to the Western ditch of Henry Thompson’s field ; thence along said ditch to the road leading to Rathfriland; thence along said road to Fullerton’s Road ; thence along the latter road to its junction with Pound Street; thence along Pound Street to the ditch on the East side of Widow Gracy's and James McClelland's land; thence along said fence to it's junction with the road from the Pound to Ballyholland ; thence along said road to the South end of the Pound Rock; thence along a ditch to the wall of Rockview Garden; thence along said wall in Southerly and Westerly direction to the Windmill Road;  thence along said road to its intersection with the Courtenay Hill Road; thence along the latter for a few yards in a North West direction ; and thence along the Barley Lane to the Northern end of Hugh Campbell’s garden wall; thence along the Eastern and Western wall of said garden to its junction with Upper Chapel Street; thence across said street and along the Southern ditch of John Ingram’s garden to the old Warreopoint Road; thence along said Road to the South Wall of the Chapel Burying Ground; thence along said wall and across the new road to Warrenpoint; and thence across the Newry and Warrenpoint Railway land in a straight line to its junction with a wire fence at the South East angle of Peter Murphy’s land; thence along said wire fence to the rampart bank; thence across the same, the Newry River and Canal; and thence along the South fence of Widow Hoey’s land and Mr. Buchanan’s garden to its junction with the old Dublin Road (now closed up); thence along the North fence of Samuel McGaw’s land to its junction with the new Dublin Road ; thence along said road in Northerly direction to the boundary between Lisdrumliska and Ballinlear, near the entrance gate of the “Glen;” thence along said boundary, which is a stream running through the same, to the bridge at the waterfall; thence to the Northern wall of said “Glen,” along same to the Eastern fence of William Henry’s field; thence along said fence to its junction with the Doran’s Hill Road; thence along said road, in a North-East direction, to the fence of Anne Weir’s farm ; thence along said fence and that of Daniel McKey and John Balmer to its junction with Kiln Street; thence along old road the Ballybot Pound to its junction with Monaghan Row; thence along the East Workhouse Wall and townland boundary to its junction with the new road leading from Newry to Newtownhamilton; thence along a lane leading through Pig Hall its junction with the and Armagh Road; thence along said road in an Easterly direction to a lane on the North side of said road; thence along said lane to its junction with the fence of George M'Cracken’s field; thence along the fence of said field and that of Mrs. E Quin in a continuous line to its junction with the rope-walk ; thence across the same along the fence of the garden of Line Lodge and that of John Gilmore’s field, North side, to its junction with the canal the North side of Lock No. 2. 

Remaining Municipal Boundary stones

Eighteen months ago John McCabe launched a investigation into attempting to find what was left of the MB stones having approached Newry Library with the understanding of having an exhibition with the findings but Covid put pay to that. 

The late Jim Boyd reveals a MB stone at Windsor Hill, Newry.
The late Jim Boyd reveals a MB stone at Windsor Hill, Newry.

To date John has discovered possibly 13 of the stones, 10 positively identified at locations namely: Drumalane Park; bottom of the Dublin Road; Doran's Hill (beside Barcroft Community Centre); Pound Road (inserted in wall); Armagh Road (opposite Vimy Terrace); Windsor Hill (beside Windsor Court); Temple Hill Road (two stones on this road); Courtney Hill (corner with Hawthorn Villas) and St Mary's Cemetery wall, Warrenpoint Road. 

There are two stones which near further investigating or precise excavated around one at Clanrye Vets No.1 Belfast Road and one at Chapel Road close to Carnagh Park, Newry. Also our investigation last year revealed that there is a MB stone in a Council storage. 

A Future Exhibition

Last year one of the Facebook group members from 'Newry's Historic Facts Folktales & Photos' Jim Boyd passed away. Jim was a great help during our big search and once restrictions are lifted organisers will dedicate their MB Exhibition to his memory. 

John McCabe is obviously still on the lookout for the remaining stones (Don't confuse with Mile Stones) and should you discover any please get in touch here. 

Photographs By John McCabe

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