Warrenpoint, County Down: things to know, do and see in 2023

Warrenpoint Park Illuminations

Warrenpoint: Know, Do & See!

Where is Warrenpoint?

Warrenpoint is a small town located in County Down, Northern Ireland.

It is situated on the northern shores of Carlingford Lough, south of Newry City. 

It neighbours the village of Rostrevor which is located 3 miles along the coastal road.

Carlingford Lough draws both the Mountains of Mourne and The Cooley Peninsula down to the sea.

Warrenpoint is separated by a narrow strait of water from the Republic of Ireland.

Warrenpoint can be seen from the shores of Carlingford Lough from Omeath in County Louth in the Republic of Ireland.

Warrenpoint was a coastal community that sprang up in the historic townland of Rinn Mhic Giolla Rua.

Rinn Mhic Giolla Rua is the Irish for Macilroy’s Point of which the townland of Ringmackilroy originates from.

The history books record the area of Warrenpoint with a number of names before the one it holds to the present day -Port Uí Néill (“O’Neill’s port”) or Port an Aoil “port of the lime”).

It was also known as Waring’s Point – see the History of Warrenpoint below.

Local folklore tells the tale that Warrenpoint was founded on a huge rabbit warren and thus how it got it’s name – incidentally the Town crest features the rabbit!

Warrenpoint developed into a small port town with a huge windmill in the centre of the town dominating the skyline for miles around – see the History of Warrenpoint below. 

Warrenpoint is known locally as “The Point” or in Irish as “An Phointe” by it’s locals in and around South Down.

Things to see in Warrenpoint

Narrow Water Keep Warrenpoint Ireland

Warrenpoint Castle – Narrow Water Castle

Narrow Water Keep is a 16th Century tower house that guarded the thoroughfare across the water (what is now County Down in Northern Ireland to County Louth, Republic of Ireland)

The Keep we see today (and visit in the Summer time) was built by the powerful Magennis Clan (the Coronation Stone tracing back to the High Kings of Ireland overlooks Warrenpoint)

The Keep was under attack and damaged in the Irish Rebellion of 1641

This site was the location of a 13th century Norman Keep built by Hugh De Lacy.

De Lacy led the Norman Invasion of Ireland and was the first Earl of Ulster. It occupied by the Hall family (who currently reside in the Elizabethan revival style Narrow Water Castle to this day).

Narrow Water Castle is currently owned by the Hall family and houses lots of activities – music, weddings, fun activities for the kids all year around from Santa Claus at Christmas to Wizard Schools in Springtime!

Narrow Water Castle from the air.

Narrow Water Keep was the backdrop to a tragic Medieval love story of Lassara, the daughter of Magennis, and the love that could not be – read about it HERE

Warrenpoint Elk

The stunning steel sculpture of the Warrenpoint Elk greets you as you enter the town.

The Ancient Elk roamed these lands of Mourne, Cooley and Gullion long before we arrived to populate and build on the land.

Our Warrenpoint Elk sculpture reminds us of our past and our responsibility to protect the future of our environment for those that follow us and call this place home.

Warrenpoint Blue Bell Wood

In the springtime nature delivers us a magical delight at Narrow Water Forest. 

As if by magic, the Bluebells brighten the forest floor and it really is a spectacle to see – check out more on Warrenpoint Bluebell Wood HERE

Coronation Stone

The Coronation Stone of the ancient Magennis Clan which connects back to the Ancient Gods of Ireland – Aenghus the God of Love himself – sits regally at the top of a hill overlooking Carlingford Lough, The Mournes and Cooley.

Read more about our ancient dynasty HERE 

Things to do in Warrenpoint

Carlingford Lough

In the summer, ferries operated across Carlingford Lough transporting passengers from Warrenpoint to Omeath in County Louth.

Carlingford Lough is a popular destination for open water swimming and other water sports and activities such as kite surfing and paddle boarding.

Mountains of Mourne

A walk along the promenade in Warrenpoint is stunning no matter what the time of year or the weather conditions.

You will see where both the Mountains of Mourne and Cooley sweep down to the sea.

Percy French who wrote the world famous song the Mountains of Mourne lived and performed in Warrenpoint for a time at the height of his successful career as musician, performer and raconteur. 

The Mourne Mountain peak of Slieve Martin can be seen from Warrenpoint promenade. 

The short coastal road trip to Rostrevor’s stunning Kilbroney Park is where you begin your hike to the summit of Slieve Martin and visit the world famous Cloughmore Stone. 

On a good summer day, you could mistaken for believing you are on the Mediterranean!

Work to regenerate the promenade is currently underway and will be complete for the Summer of 2023

Cloughmore Stone visit warrenpoint whats the point
Cloughmor in The Mournes, Rostrevor (Overlooking Warrenpoint!)

On a good summer day, you could mistaken for believing you are on the Mediterranean!

Work to regenerate the promenade is currently underway and will be complete for the Summer of 2023

It just might be the perfect location for a Staycation in Ireland.

Warrenpoint is a beautiful location on a sunny Summertime day but equally as magnificent on a stormy Winter’s Day.

How about getting soaked by an incoming wave from Carlingford lough coming over the wall?

The video below shows an angry storm in January 2014.

Warrenpoint Municipal Park

Warrenpoint Municipal Park is the jewel of the town centre!

Millions of people have strolled through the park during it’s long history – read about the history of the Warrenpoint Park – to sit and chill out on the park benches or enjoy the entertainment from the glorious, historic Bandstand.

Brian Kennedy and Luka Bloom have performed from the Warrenpoint Bandstand as part of the fabulous Wake The Giant Festival.

Municipal Park Warrenpoint

Whats's on in Warrenpoint

International Guinness Blues on The Bay Festival

International Guinness Blues on The Bay Festival in Warrenpoint – Spring Bank Holiday Weekend Warrenpoint, County Down at the end of May every year is a musical highlight attracting visitors from all over the country and the world.

World renowned artists such as Van Morrison, Peter Green, Wilko Johnson, Robben Ford and scores of other top Blues musicians have graced the stage in Warrenpoint as part of the International Blues on the Bay Festival

The festival is featured annually on BBC Radio – Check out the video below of the BBC Ralph McLean Show broadcasting live from the Blues on The Bay Warrenpoint.

For the latest information on the Warrenpoint Blues on the Bay Festival – Click HERE

Maiden of Mourne Festival Warrenpoint 

The Maiden of Mourne celebrated it’s final year in 2019 after many successful years of music, fun and enjoyment in Warrenpoint.

The festival was modelled after the Rose of Tralee festival in Kerry and drew many visitors to the town to enjoy performances by Mary Black, Daniel O’Donnell and many other artists.

The Warrenpoint Summer festival relaunched as the Loughside Festival in the summer of 2022.

Wake the Giant Warrenpoint

Wake the Giant is a superb summer festival in Warrenpoint for all the family that is biggest and best festival on the whole of the island.

We celebrate the mythical Finn McCool – Northern Ireland’s famous giant (He built the Giant’s Causeway and threw the Cloughmor to kill the evil giant).

Tens and Thousands of people from all over have come to Warrenpoint to Wake The Giant!

The festival takes place at the end of August every year!

Spectacular Giant performances from Finn McCool, music from top class artists and lots of fun all around the town makes this a festival you do not want to miss – for more Click HERE

Wake the Giant Warrenpoint 2022 Whats the Point

Warrenpoint Pantomime

Warrenpoint Pantomime presented it’s 65th production – Snow White and the seven dwarfs – in February 2023.

The Warrenpoint Pantomime production was first performed in 1950.

The Warrenpoint Pantomime is an annual local institution providing fun, dance and music for the audience and cast of local children, actors and musicians.

Have you ever been to the Warrenpoint Pantomime? “Oh yes you have ……….”

Warrenpoint Pantomime visit Warrenpoint
Frontier Sentinel - Saturday 31 January 1953

Where to stay and eat in Warrenpoint?

Warrenpoint has many places to stay with a range of accommodation choices – check out some of the options HERE

Where to eat in Warrenpoint

Schools: Education in Warrenpoint

St Dallan’s Primary School

20 Clonallon Road
County Down
BT34 3RP
Tel: 028417 52655

St Dallan's School Warrenpoint

Dromore Road Primary School

Upper Dromore Rd
County Down
BT34 3JH
Tel:  028417 52656

St Mark’s High School

Upper Dromore Rd
County Down
BT34 3PN
Tel:  028417 53366


61 Great Georges Street
County Down
BT34 3NF
Tel: 028417 53224


Church St
County Down
BT34 3HN
Tel:  028417 72405

Churches in Warrenpoint

St Peter’s Church, Great Georges Street, Warrenpoint, Newry BT34 3NF

St Peter's Catholic Church Warrenpoint Visit Warrenpoint

Mary Queen of Peace, 27 Clonallon Rd, Warrenpoint, Newry BT34 

Church of Ireland, Church Street, Warrenpoint

Sports in Warrenpoint 

Click the name for more details below.

Warrenpoint GAA

St Peter's GAA Warrenpoint

Warrenpoint Boxing Club

John McCoy A.B.C Warrenpoint

warrenpoint boxing club John McCoy Amateur Boxing Club Visit Warrenpoint Whats the Point
Warrenpoint Bowling Club visit warrenpoint whats the point

Warrenpoint Outdoor Bowling Club play their bowls in Clonallon Park in Warrenpoint.

Warrenpoint Golf Club

Fastest Round of Golf attempt in 1986!

History of Warrenpoint

Warrenpoint History visit warrenpoint whats the point

The name Warrenpoint originates from a family who lived in the area by the name Waring or Warren.

This information was recorded by Father Bernard Trainor who kept records of the people living in the area. 

Local historians in the past have connected the origins of Warrenpoint and it’s name to General Warren who fought in the American War of Independence. 

The Warren family may well have lived on a point at the sea and that’s how we got our name!

According to local folklore, the area was a rabbit warren – the rabbit was featured on the Town crest and in more recent times on the crest of Warrenpoint Town Football Club (2022 saw the club adopt a new crest)- and thus how Warrenpoint got it’s name.

Warrenpoint developed as a centre of local commerce for farming produce and trade via the local port.

The Windmill in Warrenpoint could be seen for miles around from land and sea – read more about the Windmill HERE

Warrenpoint Windmill visit warrenpoint whats the point

Warrenpoint was one of Ireland’s most popular tourist spots in late 1800’s .

Warrenpoint’s railway train line opened in 1849.

The railway company built the Great Northern Hotel in Warrenpoint (now St Joseph’s Nursing Home).

A horse drawn tram linked Warrenpoint to Rostrevor.

At the the start of the 1900’s, Warrenpoint had seven hotels and up to 30 guesthouses to service the visitor coming to the seaside town.

Warrenpoint and World War II

Martinet World War ii Crash warrenpoint

In July of 1945, two RAF planes collided while taking part in a demonstration. 

All of the airmen were killed in the collision.

Debris of the plane fell on the main streets in Warrenpoint.

Details of the crash – planes and crew.

Oxford I – LX598 of 290 Sqn Long Kesh/Co.Down collided during a Civil Defence Demonstration with Martinet TT.1 – MS626 due to bad misty conditions.

The Oxford crashed 1 mile off the Warrenpoint pier killing three pilots:

W/O Lucien A.W.J. ECCLES 
F/Sgt Dennis MYERS
Sgt Peter STURDY

The Martinet crashed on public bath houses Oxford-Duke Street, killing:

W/O (Pilot) Albert G. GIBB 

Sgt (Airgunner) George W. MOSEY 

The Battle of Normandy was taking place in France at time this air accident occurred in Warrenpoint.

Warrenpoint and Irish Politics

Every part of Ireland / Northern Ireland has a tragic story related to the conflict and troubled times in Ireland.

Warrenpoint and County Down is no different!

We list some of those below to document our town’s history in conflict and painful times. 

War of Independence in Ireland

Two RIC officers were killed in Warrenpoint in February 1921 during the War of Independence.

This is the account of the incident given by Peadar Barry, an IRA officer:

“In or about February 1921, orders were issued to ambush a police patrol In the town of Warrenpoint. About twenty members of the Corrogs Company were mobilised for this operation and went into the town of Warrenpoint to carry it out.

It was customary for the police in Warrenpoint to go out each night on a patrol of the town. The movements of the patrol had been watched for some time previous to our going in to carry out the ambush. We found by careful observation that the police had no settled routine route for their patrol. They changed their routes through the town almost each night. This fact forced us on the night planned for the operation to post men at various points to ensure that no matter what particular streets they traversed some of us would have an opportunity at some point to engage them.

One particular fact we knew from observation was that every night they traversed a street known as Summerhill which had three cross streets leading off. Parties of our men were placed at two of these intersections in such position as to ensure that the police would come under fire if they traversed Summerhill area.

I was not myself a member of either ambushing parties on this night. My orders were to scout and to ensure that the ambushers would get timely warning of the approach of the police. As far as I can remember a patrol of five men came along into the Summerhill area and were attacked by bomb and revolver fire. Some of the attackers had rifles. I cannot say at the moment if the rifles were used or not.

In the exchange of fire the police suffered the following casualties: One policeman killed, two wounded, one of whom subsequently died. Intensive police activities followed this ambush in Corrogs area. All the houses were raided by police, Special Constabulary and Auxiliaries.

On the morning after the ambush I was taking a horse and cart up the road to a neighbouring house when I met two lorryloads of Specials. On one of the lorries I recognised an R.I.C. man named Constable Michael Enright. Much to my surprise I found that the lorries passed me without interfering with me and proceeded to my father’s house. There they found a picture of Terence MacSwiney which they destroyed.

They then arrested my father and took him into Newry, a prisoner. I found out quite recently from a friend who met this ex-Constable Enright in Newry about a year ago that Enright told him that he recognised me that morning and that if he had identified me his comrades would have shot me. My father, after his release from Newry, told me that this same Constable Enright had saved his life after his arrest when other policemen wanted to shoot him. Enright resigned from the Police Force shortly after these incidents.”

Warrenpoint and The Troubles

Warrenpoint Ambush at Narrow Water

On 27 August 1979 , an IRA bomb killed 18 British soldiers at Narrow Water in Warrenpoint. 

The British soldiers were members of the British Parachute Regiment. 

General Sir Mike Jackson called the attack a “clever plan and they succeeded”

On the same day, Lord Louis Mountbatten, a close relative of the British Royal family, was killed by an IRA bomb planted on his boat at Mullaghmore, Co. Donegal.

In April 1976, loyalist paramilitaries attacked the Ulster Bar, The Square, Warrenpoint throwing a bomb into the pub.

The explosion killed local man Matthew Campbell who died as a result of his injuries.

In June 1976, Warrenpoint teacher Liam Prince was mistakenly shot dead by the British Army close to the border.

In 1981, Ivan Toombs, customs officer and Major in the Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) was shot dead by IRA gunmen in the Custom and Excise offices where he worked based in Warrenpoint Docks.

In 1983, The Crown Hotel which was situated on The Square in Warrenpoint was blown up and destroyed by the IRA. 

The Seven Steps Hotel along the front shore was also firebombed and destroyed..

In February 1983, RUC reserve constable Edward Magill was shot dead by the IRA while on duty in Warrenpoint Town centre while walking to the shop.

In April 1989, an IRA bomb planted in Heatley and Morgan’s building supplies yard adjacent to the police station exploded killing local Warrenpoint girl, Joanne Reilly.

The police station was the intended target of the bomb attack.

Joanne was 20 years old.

The blast also injured 30 people and caused extensive damage properties in the area.

Further reading on the Troubles HERE

Population of Warrenpoint

The 2021 census of Newry, Mourne and Down recorded a population of 182,074 with 68,397 households.

The nationality or nationalities that the person identifies with was as follows:

British only 17%
Irish only 47%
Northern Irish only 21%
British & Irish only <1%
British & Northern Irish only 4%
Irish & Northern Irish only 3%
British, Irish & Northern Irish only 1%
Other national identities 6%

2011 Census Warrenpoint and Burren

The UK census of 2011 listed a population in Warrenpoint and Burren of 8732 people.

The breakdown of the local Warrenpoint population by gender according to the 2011 census was 48.9% Female and 51.1 male.

The 2011 census recorded the religious breakdown of the population of Warrenpoint and Burren as follows:

  • Catholic 87.7%
  • Protestant 9.6%
  • Other 0.2%
  • None 2.5%

The total amount of people born outside the UK and Ireland was 548.

The amount of lone person households in the Warrenpoint and Burren area was 3300.

The percentage of the Warrenpoint and Burren population that have no car or van per household was 20.6%

Your Questions Answered

Warrenpoint Questions

If you want to know what weather Warrenpoint will have on the day of your visit be sure to visit Louth Weather on Facebook for an accurate forecast of the weather in the Carlingford Lough and Warrenpoint area. Louth Weather on Facebook HERE

Warrenpoint has a beach on the shores of Carlingford Lough.

It is a stony beach perfect for skimming stones in the water of Carlingford Lough. Sandy Bottom on Warrenpoint beach is a popular spot for open sea swimmers all year around.

Check out What’s on in County Down on Facebook to see what’s on in the locality.

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