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, the free encyclopediaCounty Down
, (Contae An Dúin
in Irish) is one of the six counties that form Northern Ireland (United Kingdom), covering an area of 2,448 km² (945 square miles). It belongs to the province of Ulster. The estimated population in 1992 was 416,600, a more recent figure puts it at 454,000. The county town is Downpatrick, and the largest town is Bangor.
Down contains both the southernmost point in Northern Ireland (Cranfield Point) and the easternmost point on the island of Ireland (Burr Point).
The county borders County Antrim to the north, the Irish Sea to the east and County Armagh to the west.
The county colours, as used on flags at inter-county sporting events, are red and black.
Places of interest
An area of County Down is known as Brontë Country, after Patrick Brontë (originally Prunty) -- father of Anne, Charlotte, and Emily Brontë -- who was born in this region.
Down is also home to Exploris, the Northern Ireland Aquarium, located in Portaferry, on the shores of Strangford Lough, on the Ards Peninsula.
The Old Inn in Crawfordsburn is one of Ireland's oldest hostelries, with records dating back to 1614; famous people who have stayed there include Jonathan Swift, Dick Turpin, Peter the Great, Lord Tennyson, Charles Dickens, Anthony Trollope, former US president George Bush, and C. S. Lewis, who honeymooned there.1
County Down is where, in the words of the famous song by Percy French, "the mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea", and the granite Mourne mountains continue to be renowned for their beauty. Slieve Donard, at 848 m (2,796 feet), is the highest peak in the Mournes (and in Ulster). Another important peak is Slieve Croob, at 532 m (1,775 ft), this is the source of the River Lagan.
Down contains two prominent peninsulas: Ards Peninsula and Lecale peninsula.
The county has a coastline along Belfast Lough to the north and Carlingford Lough to the south (both of which have access to the sea). Strangford Lough lies between the Ards Peninsula and the mainland. Down also has a very short coast on Lough Neagh. Smaller loughs include Lough Island Reavy.
The River Lagan forms most of the border with County Antrim. The River Bann also flows through the southwestern areas of the county. The Clanrye River and River Quoile also flow through the county.
There are several islands off the Down coast: Mew Island, Light House Island and Copeland Island (together, the Copeland Islands), all of which lie to the north of the Ards Peninsula. Gun Island lies off the Lecale coast. In addition there are a large number of small islands in Strangford Lough.
List of places in County Down
- Crawfordsburn Old Inn website
This article was copied on 11 July 2006. The current version
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