Lough (Irish: Loch Cairlinn; Ulster Scots: Carlinford
Loch or Cairlinfurd Loch) is a glacial fjord or sea inlet that
forms part of the border between
Northern Ireland to the north and the
Republic of Ireland
Republic of Ireland to the south. On its northern shore is County Down
and on its southern shore is County Louth. At its extreme interior
angle (the northwest corner) it is fed by the
Newry River and the
The name is derived from the
Old Norse Kerlingfjǫrðr, which means
"narrow sea-inlet of the hag". Historically it was called Cuan
Snámh-Aighneach, Snámh-Aighneach or Cuan Cairlinne in Irish. An
older English name was Nury (Newry) Bay.
3 Flora and fauna
4 Protected areas
5 Railway access
6 See also
8 External links
Newry River and the
Newry Canal link the lough to the nearby city
Newry (the canal continues on towards the
River Bann and Lough
Neagh; the river, under the name River Clanrye, loops around County
Down). The only other glacial fjords in Ireland are
Lough Swilly and
On the northern coast, in County Down, are the coastal towns of
Warrenpoint and Rostrevor, backed by the Mourne Mountains. On the
southern coast are Omeath, Carlingford and
Greenore backed by the
Cooley Mountains, all on the
Cooley Peninsula in County Louth.
The seaward entrance to the lough is marked by the Haulbowline
Lighthouse, which was built in 1824.
The area has been a popular tourist destination since Victorian times
when the railway between Dublin and
Belfast was opened. Situated
approximately halfway between the two cities, the easy access to the
area combined with its scenery and sheltered location are still
important factors in its popularity today.
This is where the "Mountains of Mourne sweep down to the Sea"' and
together with the Sleve Foy ridge on the
County Louth shore of the
lough they offer scenic drives, forest parks and many miles of good
footpaths and trails to explore. Rambling, hillwalking and climbing
are popular, with local outdoor education centres offering courses and
activity holidays. It's a similar story on the water, with marinas in
Carlingford and Warrenpoint. Craft of various types can be hired at
both locations, or the visitor can take a cruise on one of several
tour vessels that operate from Omeath,
Warrenpoint and Carlingford
during the peak season of June, July and August.
Culturally, there is a varied offering of events and festivals.
Highlights include the International Blues on the Bay Festival at the
end of May in Warrenpoint, Carlingford Oyster Festival,
Festival, The "Maiden of the Mournes" in Warrenpoint, Rostrevor's
"Fiddlers Green International Folk Festival"' and the Mourne Walking
Festival which involves a wide programme of events at a variety of
locations. The majority of these festivals are free, although bookings
and or entry fees may be payable for some events. More informal
entertainment is widely available throughout the year in hotels and
Short-term tourist accommodation includes award-winning hotels,
B&Bs, self-catering holiday cottages, and campsites, although is
interspersed among residential dwellings in an unregulated an wanton
manner which dramatically reduces quality of life and wellbeing of
many of Carlingford's residents. Early booking is always advisable
during holiday periods as even the campsites are often full to
capacity. Opportunities to eat out are largely confined to the Hotels,
small restaurants and local bars (although many smaller bars do not
serve meals), but there is generally a good balance between quality
and value for money.
However, long term residential possibilities in Carlingford village
are dwindling. In a recent town planning meeting, long term
residential provision and quality of same were ranked #18 on the
compiled list of planning considerations going forward in the area,
being outranked largely by suggestions to improve tourism and
therefore business for the village's longest established families.
In 2008, the area was designated a European Destination of Excellence
(EDEN), and continuing investment in infrastructure, services and
facilities on both sides of the border is assured.
Flora and fauna
The northern shores have extensive mudflats and salt marshes which
provide winter feeding areas for the pale-bellied brent goose (Branta
bernicla hrota). At the mouth of the lough are several small rock and
shingle islands which are breeding areas for terns that feed in its
The mouth of Carlingford
Lough from Knockree.
Lough is an Important Bird Area.
Lough Ramsar site (wetlands of international
importance designated under the Ramsar Convention), is 830.51 hectares
in area, at latitude 54 03 00 N and longitude 06 07 00 W. It was
designated a Ramsar site on 9 March 1998. It is a cross-border site.
The northern shore is in
Northern Ireland and includes the most
significant mudflats in the lough, and an area of salt marsh. The
southern shore is in the Republic of Ireland. At the mouth of the
lough are several small rock and shingle islands which are of
importance to terns. The Ramsar Site lies between
and Soldiers Point on the northern shores of Carlingford
Lough and the
landward boundary coincides entirely with that of the Carlingford
Area of Special Scientific Interest and the Carlingford Lough
Special Protection Area.
The site qualified under Criterion 2 of the
Ramsar Convention because
it supports important groups of vulnerable and endangered Irish Red
Data Book bird species. It supports nationally important breeding
populations of common tern. Roseate terns returned to the site after
an absence of six years with two breeding pairs recorded in 1997. It
has also supported nationally important numbers of Arctic tern. It
also qualified under Criterion 3c for supporting internationally
important breeding populations of
Sandwich tern and of overwintering
light-bellied brent geese.
Newry is the nearest station located on the Dublin-
line with trains running on the Enterprise between
Portadown and Dublin Connolly, whilst other trains may call at
additional stations en route to
Belfast Great Victoria Street.
List of loughs in Ireland
^ North-South Ministerial Council: 2010 Annual Report in Ulster Scots
Archived 27 February 2013 at the Wayback Machine.
^ Jordan's Castle – Department of the Environment
^ "Carlingford", Placenames Database of Ireland, retrieved 8 December
^ Annals of the Kingdom of Ireland: Index (1856)
^ Placenames Database of Ireland: Carlingford
Lough (see archival
^ Whittow, J.B. Geology and Scenery in Ireland. Penguin, 1974.
^ BirdLife International (2015) Important Bird Areas factsheet:
Carlingford Lough. Downloaded from "Archived copy". Archived from the
original on 10 July 2007. Retrieved 2012-10-20. on 17/06/2015
^ a b "Designated and Proposed Ramsar sites in Northern Ireland"
(PDF). Joint Nature Conservation Committee. Retrieved 7 July
^ a b "Carlingford
Lough Ramsar site". NI Environment Agency. Archived
from the original on 23 December 2012. Retrieved 7 July 2008.
Official Carlingford Online website
Omeath and Carlingford area information on
Information about the Connemara-Retriever disaster @ the BBC
Landscapes Unlocked – Aerial footage from the BBC Sky High series
explaining the physical, social and economic geography of Northern
Carlingford and Cooley Tourism Association website
Places in County Down
List of places in County Down
Lough Island Reavy
Lordship of Newry
WikiProject Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland Portal
United Kingdom Por