County Down

History and Genealogy

(Landowners in 1876 can be got from the index on the main  page of the website under Land Deeds)

Clicking on any of the names below will give you history, stories, and other information on that townland.

Griffiths Valuations of Ireland, 1847/1864,
1901 and 1911 Census Link,
Church Records, Clonallon, Warrenpoint, source and dates.
Belfast Newsletter  1737-1800
Bloody Bridge
Boundaries - Mourne

Cattle Spoil In An Age of Industry
Richard O'Prey
Including 1911 Census

Mourne Cadger
People Researching Ancestors in
Warrenpoint areas
Rostrevor & Warrenpoint Births


The Bloody Bridge

The Bloody Bridge River rises at the head of the Bog of Donard and separates that mountain from the tor-capped summit of Chimney Rock Mountain to the south. The well worn path along the river leads to the Hare's Gap via. the Brandy Pad which takes its name from the contraband traffic during the days of intensive smuggling along the Mourne coast.

Silks for Her Ladyship,webs that gleam and shine,
A11 the southern summer in his lordship's wine,
Gold for the sailorman, silver for the lad,
Them was days of plenty on the smugglers' pad ...
(Ballads of Mourne)

During the O'Neill rebellion of the 17th century a group of protestant prisoners, taken by the insurgents at Newry, were being escorted to Downpatrick to be exchanged for prisoners being held there. When they reached Newcastle their captors learned that the Downpatrick prisoners had been hanged. The Newry prisoners were then taken to Fofany Glen where on October 23rd. 1641 they were 'hackd, slashed and cut to pieces' by the Irish Commander, George Russell of Rathmullan at the instigation of Sir Conn Magennis and their remains were thrown into what was then known as the Midpace River. It is said that the water flowed red for seven days.

On a hillock on the seaward side of the road is the ruin of the ancient Church of St. Mary or Kilnahatin (Church of the Whins). This church, probably medieval in date, was originally one of the stations in the Slieve Donard pilgrimage.

The Bloody Bridge, in the townland of Ballaghanery (the Pass of the Shepherd), a couple of miles south of Newcastle, on the Kilkeel road, is one of the best known landmarks in the southern part of County Down. The old ivy covered bridge across what was once known as the Midpace River lies about a hundred yards upstream from the present crossing.

There are many stories relating to the occurrence from which the bridge derives its present name. Some of the stories have been handed down through the generations and, as might be expected, are widely varied. Some even suggest that a full scale battle took place here and many of the older maps show the crossed swords to indicate the site of such. There was no battle, not even a skirmish, though during the seventeenth century there was what im military parlance might be termed as an 'incident'. Walter Harris, the author of 'The Ancient and Present State of the County of Down' (Dublin 1744) was not sure how many people had been killed - either twenty-four or fifty!

In his 1898 'Guide to County Down and the Mourne Mountains' Robert Lloyd Praegar simply refers to 'the massacre of a number of protestants of Newry, including their minister .... at the instigation of Sir Conn Magennis'.

O'Neill's Rebellion

During what is sometimes referred to as Sir Phelim O'Neill's rebellion in the seventeenth century the insurgents attacked The Newry - in those days the name of the town was always preceded by the definite article. Many prisoners were taken and some of these were escorted to the port of Carlingford from where they would be taken by sea to Dublin when the wind was favourable. The number of prisoners in this group is not known but it was probably around a dozen.

While the prisoners were being held at Carlingford the orders were changed and the escorting party was ordered to take them to Downpatrick where they would be exchanged for Irish prisoners being held there by Montgomery of the Ards. They crossed Carlingford Lough to Greencastle and according to statements taken later, spent a night in what is referred to as a 'house of entertainment'  (lodging house) belonging to Edmond Doran in 'Ballyran' (probably Ballinran, near Kilkeel).

Doran, who gave evidence at an enquiry some twelve years later, was able to name some of the prisoners - Lieutenant Hugh Trevor, a native of the townland of Lisnagreade between Scarva and Loughbrickland; his wife and her maid; a minister from Newry named Toutch, and a Mr Weston. He was unable to recall the names of the others nor did he remember their exact number. He had no idea what had happened to them after they left his premises though he had heard that they had all been murdered but he didn't know by whom. All he knew was that they had left his house after spending one night there and went off in the direction of Newcastle.

It would appear that when they arrived at the Magennis Castle (on the site of the present Newcastle Centre and Tropicana), they heard that the Irish prisoners being held in the gaol at Downpatrick and for whom they were to be exchanged, had been hanged. In his account Harris makes no mention of the prisoners being hanged. He simply says 'But no sooner were they brought to Newcastle, about nine miles short of Downe, than Sir Con met them and the next day caused them to be taken back from thence a few miles into a wood called the Pass of Bealachneir, where they were most barbarously cut, slashed and hacked and at length hanged ny George Russell of Rathmullan, and divers of his assistants, instigated and commanded by Sir Con'.


In 1903 Thomas Fitzpatrick published an account of his investigations into the incident at the Bloody Bridge and gives details of the depositions taken at the inquiry. Edward Clark of Drumlee gave evidence that after arriving at the house of Magennis in Newcastle, the prisoners were taken back to the Pass of Dundrum by Conn McArt Magennis (not Sir Con), Hugh McGinn and several others. (The Pass of Dundrum refers to the passage between Slieve Donard and the sea - now known as the Ballagh.).

In his account Fitzpatrick gives the names of five more prisoners taken from Newry - Samuel Hanlon, Clement Sturgeoner, Francis Simmons, Nicholas Foster and Thomas Gaskyn. Edward Clark's evidence at the inquiry continues with a detailed account of how several of the prisoners were killed in the Fofany Glen wood.

' ... McGinn drew his sword and struck Weston on the head. O'Rory run the said Weston twice or thrice through the body .... and there. murdered all the said prisoners. Lieutenant Hugh Trevor was killed at the same time. Con Magennis gave him the first blow ... '

Later accounts of the incident do not mention the maid referred to by earlier witnesses nor is she mentioned in evidence taken at the inquiry from the father of Lieutenant Trevor. It was said locally that the hacked and slashed remains of the prisoners were thrown into what is now known as the Bloody Bridge River and that the water flowed red for seven days.


During the Second World War it was decided by the War Cabinet that 26 new airfields should be created in Northern Ireland to supplement the existing fields at Aldergrove, Sydenham and Newtownards. One of these was to be at Cranfield but since there was already an airfield at Cranfield in Bedfordshire, the new one would be named after the nearby Greencastle.

Work began early in 1942 and within six months the aerodrome was operational. In 1943 the station was officially handed over to the United States Army Air Force by whom it was known as Station 237. For much of the war it served as a storage and maintenance depot and later as a gunnery school. At one stage there were no fewer than five hundred aircraft parked there.

At the end of the war the runways, taxi strips and hard standings were broken up and the land was bought back by its former owners. The field divisions had disappeared during the construction of the airfield as indeed had a prehistoric tomb known as Loughananka. The concrete slabs which once supported so many aircraft were utilised to build the 'ditches' which now characterize this area of the Cranfield Peninsula.Cranfield beach, the only south-facing one in Northern Ireland, with its magnificent views and high quality caravan parks, now attracts thousands of visitors during the summer season.

Greencastle Village

The hamlet of Greencastle at the western tip of the Cranfield Peninsula was once an important communication link. The pier, which is still extant, was built by the London and North Western Railway Company in 1844 to ferry passengers to Greenore to connect with their Holyhead and Liverpool ferries.

On Friday 3rd November 1916 the Connemara left Greenore at 8 pm for Holyhead. She had on board 51 passengers, 30 crew members, 3 cattlemen and a luggage guard under the command of Captain G. H. Doeg. The Retriever, a steamer owned by the Clanrye Shipping Company Ltd. of Newry with an eight man crew was bound for Newry with a cargo of coal.

Just after 8.30pm they met in the channel close to the Haulbowline lighthouse. The bow of the Retriever struck the Connemara amidships and within eight minutes both vessels had sunk and all lives, with the exception of James Boyle, a 21-year old seaman from Warrenpoint were lost. It is said that Boyle, who was unable to swim, managed to grab the tail of a cow and thus managed to reach the shore! The nearby Greenisland is now a bird sanctuary and the home during the summer for thousand of terns.

The Castle at Greencastle was built in the middle of the 13th century on the site of an ancient fair green as a link in the chain of castles along the east coast. It was first occupied by the de Burghs, Earls of Ulster. In the following century the Irish, under the leadership of one of the Magennises, obtained posession but this was short lived. Eventually it was occupied by Nicholas Bagenal, a native of Staffordshire, who, 1552 was granted lands in Down, Armagh and Louth as reward for his services as Marshall of Ireland. On his death in 1590 the estate passed to his son Henry who was killed at the Battle of the Yellow Ford in 1599.

The entire estate remained in the Bagenal family until the death of Richard, the last male heir, in 1712. The extensive property was then partitioned and inherited by Edward Bailey, and Robert Nedham. Bailey took the lands in Louth and the eastern portion of the Lordship of Newry while Nedham took the western portion of the Lordship and the Barony of Newry and Mourne.

In 1806 Nedham's descendant, William Nedham, died and bequeathed his property to Robert Needham (with two e's), Viscount Kilmorey of Shavington in Shropshire. The family built a new home not at Greencastle which was now in ruins, but in the townland of Ballyrogan, which was renamed Mourne Park. In 1832 Viscount Kilmorey became the first Earl of Kilmorey with the additional title of Viscount Newry and Mourne.

According to legend a ghost who once occupied the castle was banished to the Red Sea for 520 years. It is also said that Block House Island, in the middle of the lough was once connected by a tunnel to the castle.

Taken from "An Old Timer Talking"
(By W.J.Fitzpatrick)

Mourne Observer, Newcastle.Co.Down - (Narrated by Hugh Marks)

"A wuz 9 years oul' when A left school an' A hired for work in McMurrays o' Greencastle to herd cows an' sheep. The wages wur ten shillin's for the half year. A also worked in Newells o' Benagh an' in McElroys at Greencastle,  the toughest place o' the lot wuz me start. A wuz only 9 years oul' ye see, an' it wuz in the winter time A started. A wuz put to herd sheep an' cattle on the Islands aff the Millbay from 5 o'clock in the mornin' to 9 o'clock at night wi' only a piece in me pocket. Many an' many a coul' winter's day A burned dry wrack an' sticks to dry me feet an' keep meself warm. A wuz on the Islands from the tide went out in the early mornin' til it came in at night wi' little in me or on me, an' ye know it wuz very hard on a wee fella.

"Newells' wuz a good house to work in, there wuz a roughness o' everythin' an' plent o' good home-baked wheaten read an' sweet milk an' good fresh buttermilk. There wuz no such thing as 'flu in them days for there wuz plenty o' good strong rum at 4d. a glass that wud kill any germs. Tobaccy wuz only 3d. an ounce an' stout 2d. a bottle, an' ye got cheese an' biscuits free wi' it at Tom Briens' pub in the Millbay.

The Story of Greencastle Fair - and the Castle and it's Ghost

While a wuz in McElroy's at Greencastle me hours were from 5 o'clock in the mornin' till 9 o'clock at night, Hugh told me. The doors wur locked after supper-about half-nine-an' any o' the workers who wusn't in by that time had to be out all night. A used to take an odd run to the town after A finished work an' o' coorse it wuz long after halfnine when A got back. So A used to go into the stable an' lie down in the manger an' pull the hay over me. That an' the oul' mare's breath as she ate the hay kept me warm an' A wuz up in the mornin' at 5 o'clock fresh as a linty picker an' no remarks passed. A stayed in McElroy's for 5 years an' me wages wur 5 a half year.

 "If ye are iiver out at the oul' Castle, just take a look into the stables an' ye might see me name on the oul' manger yit that's if they haven't made alterations since my time, for that's over 60 years ago. If ye drive up to the farmhouse an' go through the gate on the right o' the oul' Castle the first openin' ye come to in the oul' walls o' the Castle wuz the stables. A'm sure there are not many horses there now."

Well, it will interest readers to learn hat we did go out to visit the old Castle and we took Hugh along with us. The first part of the ruins we reached were the stables and sure enough on the wooden manger of the first "stand", almost as fresh as the day he painted it, was the name "HU MARKS." So there was no doubt about it, Marks left his mark for future generations to see. And for a man who declares "A'm no scholar," the big bold block capitals he inscribed could not have been excelled by a University graduate. With Hugh as our guide we climbed to the ramparts of the old Castle, visited the old banqueting hall, the tower and keep, and also the dungeons underneath. An account of the history of Greencastle may be of interest.

History of the Castle

Though the only inhabitants when we visited it were a couple of cows and some pigs, it was once upon a time one of the most important fortresses in Ireland, guarding the entrance to the Kingdom of Mourne, standing sentinel over Carlingford Lough and sharing with the corresponding fort of Carlingford, supported by the Block House in the middle of the Lough, the responsibility of keeping the so-called "wild Irish" in check, and baffling the French when they tried to force the gap of Uladh. It was built by John de Courcey about the year 1264 and was the scene of many a fierce siege between the Anglo Normans and the Irish clans, changing hands several times during those bloody conflicts. It was also besieged by Cromwell's armies and partly demolished by them, but the keep, towers and basement arches are still intact and the historic ruin like a grim sentinel still stands guard over the Kingdom of Mourne.

The late Monsignor J. O'Laverty, M.R.I.A., in his Historical Account of the Diocese of Down and Connor, treats of the history of the castle as follows: "It was erected by the early English invaders to guard an entrance to the Lough of Carlingford, and to secure a line of correspondence between the Pale and their out lying possessions in Lecale. A sad eyesore to the native Irish that Anglo-Norman fortress perched on an abrupt rock and flaunting its red cross of St. George in their faces as they looked from their own mountains to the waters of CuanSnamheach, by which name they still loved to call the Lough on which the Norsemen had imposed the outlandish name of Carlingford. The red cross is gone, and the rank grass waves from the ruined keep, but 700 years have not been able to remove 'the Irish enemy'-whose descendants still cling to the soil . . . This castle, with its lands, was one of the many lordships belonging to the powerful Earls of Ulster, the De Burgos or Burkes . . . In 1495 it was considered of such importance that the crown felt it necessary to decree that none but Englishmen by birth were eligible to the office of Governor. In the reign of Edward VI, the castle and lordship of Mourne were granted to Sir Nicholas Bagnell (who was represented by Lord Kilmorey)

. Part of the castle, fitted up for a residence probably by some of the Bagnall family, about the latter portion of the seventeenth century, is at present the residence of Mr. McIlroy. The farm on which the Castle stands is still owned by the McIlroy family.

Archaeologists excavating there a few years ago found nothing but a skull with a bullet hole through it, probably the skull of one of the Cromwellian soldiers or of some one of the defenders of the Castle during the Cromwellian siege. We cannot be certain, but if those grim old wall could only speak, what stories they could tell of doughty deeds of daring from the dim and distant past.

The "Retriever" and "
Connemara" Disaster

Our picture shows our esteemed guide, Hugh Marks, looking out towards the old Block House in the middle of Carlingford Lough. He also recalled the worst sea disaster ever to happen off the Northern coast. It was the collision between the S.S. "Retriever",  a collier bound from Garston to Newry and the "Connemara" passenger boat bound from Greenore to Hollyhead. The tragedy occurred about 9 p.m. on the wild stormy night of the 3rd N o v e m b e r , 1916. Ninety-three people perished. Mr. P. Boyle, Warrenpoint, still living, was the one and only survivor from the "Retriever," and there were none at all from the "Connemara." Fifteen of the unclaimed, unidentified bodies were washed up along the shore between Greencastle and Derryogue Point and were buried in the old Kilkeel Churchyard. Captain P. O'Neill, from The Ballagh, near Newcastle, his son Joseph, and his brother-in-law Joseph Donnan who were drowned from the "Retriever", were waked in James Dorman's house in Newry Street, Kilkeel. Capt. O'Neill's wife, formerly Miss Margaret Donnan, was a cousin of Mr. Tom Donnan, Kilkeel.


The Ghost who was Banished for 520 years

Before we left the old Castle, Hugh enquired if we had ever heard the ghost story in connection with it. We admitted we had heard something of this, but didn't know the whole story,

"Well," continued High, "it wuz long before my time an' A don't know it all, but as far as a heerd there wuz a strange boat come into Greencastle pier wan time an' a wee man came ashore an' made his way up to the out' Castle. He didn't come out again but that night at 12 o'clock an' for long after that at the same time ivery night the cattle kept roarin' all night an' burst their tyin's to get out. They near wint mad. The very pots an' pans in the house kept rattlin' an' an old 8-day clock fell aff the wall an' niver 'went' again. Well, the ructions wint on ivery night for a long time and A heerd the oul' people say that there wuz a Council of Clargy got together to lay the ghost. They ordered him to be banished to the Red Sea for 520 years. The ghost pleaded wi' them to throw off the 500 an' make it only 20 an' he wud call again at the end that time, but they stuck to the 520. A suppose there's 120 year o' the time up be now."

Greencastle Fair

"Och, Greencastle is an ancient out' place. They used to ship cattle an' horses from it to Greenore an' Hollyhead,  but that's stopped donkey's years ago, more's the pity. An' A suppose ye heerd tell o' Greencastle Fair? A niver wuz at it but A wuz talkin' to them that wuz. There wuz a song about it. Me mother knowed it, God rest her. "Who has had the luck to see Greencastle Fair? A Mourne man all in his glory was there".That's all A know of it, but A think the Mourne man mentioned in the song wuz a man called Dancin' Tam McCartan from the Longstone. He wuz a champion step-dancer, none to touch him. The last fair at Greencastle wuz about 70 years ago. It wuz always held on the 12th August, an' on that mornin' the roads wud be black wi' people from all airts an' parts an' the say wud be black as well wi' all kin's o' wee boats and yawls filled wi' people from Cooley an' roun' there. There wud be great fun wi' the boatmen, wan tryin' to outdo the other in sailin'.

"There wur no end o' tents an' caravans. It wuz mostly in the tents that the dancin' took place an' ye may be sure the music wud ha' been worth a listenin' to-pipers and fiddlers an' fifers. There wur prizes for the best step-dancers, an' they wud ha' danced jigs and reels an' hornpipes an' Irish set dances. There wud ha' been all kinds o' 'kereckters' at the fair, jugglers and spey-men ands ,spey-weemin, an' men sellin' all kin's o' things lek churns and tubs and other wudden veshils that's not used nowadays, an' cloggers sellin' clogs, for nearly ivery man, woman an' wean in Mourne wore clogs in them days, an' then there wur woolen waivers sellin' 'pleadin' an' banyins; nearly all the men wore banyins in them days. In troth ye cud ha' bought iverythin' from a needle to an anchor at Greencastle Fair. An' there wuz lashins an' leavin's o' all kin's o' atin', an' drinkin'. Whiskey at 3d. or 4d. a glass and porter at one and a half pence or 2d. a bottle. The stir lasted to the early hours o' the mornin' an' many an oul' horse or donkey made their way home themselves wi' their owners lyin' 'stocious' in the carts. Och, them wuz the days. It's mebbie just as well drink's not as chape nowa- days or there'd be whole lots wud niver be sober, troth naw.".

The Blind Fiddler

Further light was shed on the Greencastle fair by Mr. James Cunningham, manager of the Bridge Bar, Kilkeel, who remembers his grandmother telling him of the blind fiddler who came across from Cooley every year to play at the fair. This fiddler, who had been blind from birth, attended all the festivals throughout Ireland, and also taught people to play the violin. "I heard my grandmother say," recalled Mr. Cunningham, "that one year when he was fiddling for the dancing competitions he said, 'If Dancing Tom McCartan's alive that's him I'm playing for now.' And so it was.".

We are indebted to Mr. Arthur Doran, Glasdrumman, for a historical note that at one time fairs were held at Greencastle on 1st January and 1st August, and were changed with the new-style calendar to 12th January and 12th August. With the passing of years, the January fair died out, but the August fair survived long after. Mr. Doran has an interesting collection of Mourne ballads, and the following lines are taken from one on the old Greencastle fair :-

"The violin's sweet inspiring tone
Proclaimed that ancient fair,
The dance with Irish brilliance shone
In style unknown elsewhere.".

 The night before the fair lots of people would come over in their little boats to Green Island and rest there for the night, and next morning complete the journey to the fair green. So, with our curiosity aroused, we set off again with Hugh as our guide to see the old fair green. It is about a quarter of a mile on the Cranfield side of Greencastle pier. Right on the beach at the end of the Fair Road, it is convenient to the house of a Mr. Doyle. The place which was once so lively and gay is desolate and forgotten now, and the former dwelling houses are in ruins.

Then we visited the pier, and were pleased to see that improvements have been carried out recently. Above all we were delighted to see the Slieve Foy, one of the Carlingford Lough Co.'s boats, tied up in port. But otherwise the place seemed dead, and Hugh could not help giving a sigh "for the quare times there used to be roun' here." Whereas Massforth Church is seven miles from Greencastle, St. James's Church in Greenore is only 2 and a half  or 3 miles distant across the lough, and prior to the erection of Grange Church in 1926 it was quite common for the local parishioners to go across by boat for prayers in St. James's.

1911 Greencastle Census


Cunningham Rose Head 50   Widow R.C. Co. Down
  Sarah Daughter 28   Single " "
  Matthew Son 26 Farmer " " "
  William Son 24 " " " "
Cunningham Nicholas Head 62 Farmer Married R.C. Co. Down
  Margaret Wife 53     " "
  Nicholas,Jun. Son 26 Ploughman Single " "
  Henry Leo Son 19 General Servant " " "
  Sarah Ann Daughter 17 Domestic " " "
  Wilfred James Son 14 Scholar " " "
Morgan Mary Margaret Niece 34 Domestic " " "
Wade Joseph Head 43 Petty Officer Coastguard Married C.O.I. England
  Fanny Wife 40   " " "
  Alfred Son 10 Scholar   " "
  Charlotte Daughter 3     " Galway
Chandler Joseph Head 49 Chief Petty Officer Coastguard Married C.O.I. Kent
  Margaret Wife 42     "  
  Alice Eva Daughter 20   Single " Mayo
Mahoney William Head 36 Coastguard Married R.C. Co. Cork
  Julia Wife 33     " "
  Patrick Son 6     " Co. Donegal
  Josephine Daughter 8     " Co. Cork
Primmer William James Head 40 H.M. Coastguard R.N. Married C.O.I. Devon
  Selina Wife 36     "  
  Henry Francis Son 10     "  
  Florence Ruth Daughter 9     " Co. Mayo
  Edward Son 7     " "
Wright Jonathan Head 36 Light House Keeper Single C.O.I. Co. Sligo
Corish Peter Head 29 Light House Keeper Married R.C. Co. Cork
  Mary Elizabeth Wife 26     " Newry
Reddin Christopher Head 38 Light House Keeper Married R.C. Dublin City
  Annie Wife 33     " Galway
Monks Aileen Niece 11 Scholar   " Co. Mayo
Monks Ernest Nephew 8     " Co. Antrim
Duggan John Head 30 Light House Keeper Married R.C. Co. Cork
  Nora Wife 26     " "
  Hugh Son 3     " "
  James Son 1     " Co. Down
McElroy Peter Head 66 Farmer Widower R.C. Co. Down
  Thomas Henry Son 25   Single " "
  Sarah Amelia Daughter 22   " " "
Devlin Kate Servant 35 Domestic " " Co. Armagh
Lynch Owen Servant 29 Farm Servant " " Co. Louth
Kennedy Michael John Servant 18 " " " Co. Armagh
McNeece Peter Head 40 Farm Servant Single R.C. Co. Louth
Ward John Servant 41 " " " Co. Down
McKeever Thomas Servant 14   " " Co. Armagh
Sloan Bernard Head 59 Farmer Married R.C. Co. Down
  Agnes Wife 61     " Co. Louth
  Nicholas Son 27 Farm Servant Single " Co. Down
  Mary Ann Daughter 18 Domestic " " "
Cunningham James Servant 16 Servant " " "
Doran John Servant 14 Servant " " "
McMurray Andrew Head 55 Farmer Married Presbyt. Co. Down
  Elizabeth Wife 62     " "
  William John Son 17 Farmers son Single " "
Boyd Alexander Servant 35 Servant "   "
McVeigh William Servant 40 Servant "   "
McGivern Thomas Head 67 Farmer Married R.C. Co. Down
  Ellen Wife 58     " "
McGivern Daniel Head 73 Farmer Married R.C. Co. Down
  James Son 37 " " " "
  Catherine Daughter in law 37     " "
  Bridget G.daughter 10     " "
  Daniel G. Son 8 Scholar   " "
  Patrick G.Son 7     " "
  Mary C. G.daughter 4     " "
  Rose G.daughter 3     " "
  Sarah G.daughter 1     " "
McGivern Ellen Head 55   Widow R.C. Co. Down
  Thomas Son 20 Farmer Single " "
  John Son 17 " " " "
  Henry Son 15 " " " "
  Joseph Son 12 Scholar   " "
  Peter Son 10 "   " "
Cunningham Margaret Head 43   Married R.C. Co. Down
  Matthew J. Son 16 Labourer Single " "
Quinn John Brother 50 " " " "
Cunningham Michael Relative 16 " " " "
McGivern Patrick Head 65 Farmer Married R.C. Co. Down
  Mary Wife 50     " "
  Mary C. Daughter 24   Single " "
  Teresa " 23   " " "
  Thomas Son 21 Farm Labourer " " "
  Sarah Daughter 20   " " "
  Dennis Son 19 Farm Labourer " " "
  Joseph " 14 Scholar   " "
  Nellie Daughter 12 "   " "
  James Son 11 "   " "
  John " 9 "   " "
Cole Henry Head 68 Farmer Married R.C. Liverpool
  Catherine D. Wife 60     " Co. Down
  John Son 28 Farmer Single " "
  Cathleen Daughter 25   " " "
  Sarah " 21   " " "
  Nicholas F. Son 19 Labourer " " "
  William J. " 17 " " " "
Sloan Cecilia G. Daughter 7 Scholar   " "
Orr Nancy Head 80   Widow Presbyt. Co. Down
  Anna Daughter 47   Single " "
  John Moore Son 44   " " "
Kindlan Catherine Head 60   Widow R.C. Co. Down
  James Son 21 Farmer Single " "
Magin Mary Relative 52   " " "
Sloan Charles Head 36 Farmer Married R.C. Co. Down
  Susan Wife 36     " "
  Selina Daughter 12     " "
  Thomas Son 8     " "
  Sarah Daughter 6     " "
  Rose. E. " 4     " "
  Mary " 2     " "
  Charles Son 9 Mths     " "
Payne Mary Jane Head 74   Widow Presbyt. Co. Down
  Margaret Elizabeth Daughter 38 Dressmaker Single " "
McKee Janet G. Daughter, Visitor 15   "   Glasgow


Winifred Visitor 33   Single C.O.I. India
  Sophie Elizabeth Visitor 29   "   Co. Down
Payne Arthur Hill Head     Married Presbyt. Co. Down
  Martha Wife 29     " "
  James Son 7     " "
  Hugh " 5     " "
  William Alfred " 1     " "
Sloan Daniel Head 40 Farmer Married R.C. Co. Down
  Celena Wife 39     " "
  Maggie Daughter 11 Scholar   " "
  Charles Joseph Son 9     " "
  Mary Catherine Daughter 7     " "
  John Son 4     " "
  Henry Gerard " 4     " "
  Celena Daughter 4 mths.     " "
George Ellen Head 72   Single R.C. Co. Down
Mitchell Nicholas Head 66 Farmer Widower Presbyt. Co. Down
  John Son 22   Married " "
  Eveline Daughter in law 25     " "
Doran Arthur Head 45 Farmer Widower R.C. Co. Down
  Annie Daughter 20   Single " "
  Elizabeth " 17   " " "
  John Son 15   " " "
  Joseph " 12     " "
  Rose G. Daughter 8 Mths.     " "
Cunningham Ann Head 73   Single R.C. Co. Down
  Catherine Daughter 46   " " "
George Elizabeth Head 80   Widow R.C. Co. Down
Cunningham William Head 49 Labourer Married R.C. Co. Down
  Margaret Wife 49     " "
  Ellen Daughter 18   Single " Co. down
  James Son 16     " "
  Margaret E. Daughter 6     " "
Berrels Bridie Head 28   Married R.C. Co. Clare
  Mary J. Daughter 4     " "
  Annie J. " 1     " Co. Down
Cunningham George Head 52 Seaman Married R.C. Co. Dublin
  Mary E. Wife 37     " "
  Catherine Daughter 16   Single " Co. Down
  Elizabeth J. " 15 Scholar   " "
  Florence " 9 "   " "
Harper George Head 47 Fisherman Married R.C. Liverpool
  Mary Wife 47     " Co. Down
Kearney Mary Ellen Daughter 23   Married " "
Harper Lizzie " 22     " "
  George Son 20 Fisherman   " "
  James " 16 "   " "
  John " 14 "   " "
  Francis " 12 Scholar   " "
  Thomas H. " 9 "   " "
  William " 7 "   " "
  Alicia Daughter 5 "   " "
  Rose A. " 2     " "
  David Father 78 Farmer Widower " "
  Elizabeth Relative 70   Unmarried " "
Berrells John Head 77 Navy Pensioner Married R.C. Wexford
  Mary Wife 70     " Philadelphia
  Peter Son 49 Seaman Single " Wicklow
  Mary Daughter 39   " " "
Mitchell Robert Head 80 Farmer Married Presbyt. Co. Down
Knox Thomas N. Relative 37 " " " "
  Jane " 40   " " "
  Mary E. " 9 Scholar   " "
  Robert N. " 7 "   " "
  Arthur A. " 3     " "
Atkinson Esther Visitor 28   Single Episcopal. "
Sloan Thomas Head 43 Farmer Married R.C. Co. Down
  Rosanna Wife 33     " "
  Maggie Sister 28   Single " "
  Winifred Daughter 4     " "
  Charles Henry Son 3     " "
  James Gerard " 2     " "
  Rosanna Daughter 1     " "
Cunningham Michael Servant 15 Farm Servant Single " "
McGivern Edward Head 84 Farmer Married R.C. Ireland
  Margaret Wife 60     " Co. Down
Cunningham Louisa Servant 17   Single " Co. Down
George Mary Ann Head 53   Widow R.C. Co. Down
  Edward Son 32 Labourer Single " "
  Philip " 28 " " " "
  Mary Margaret Daughter 26   " " "
  Ellen " 18   " " "
Dowdall Mary Head 64   Widow R.C. Co. Down
  Robert H. Son 28 Fisherman Single " "
Cunningham Catherine Head 28   Single R.C. Co. Down
Clarke Dennis Head 30 Farmer Married R.C. Co. Down
  Maggie Wife 23     " "
  Elizabeth Daughter 4     " "
  John Son 2     " "
  Patrick Brother 46 Farmer Single " "
Clarke Mary Head 71   Widow R.C. Co, Down
  James Son 51 Farmer Married " "
  Ellen Daughter in law 42     " "
  Dennis G. Son 19   Single " "
  Charles G. Son 17   " " "
  Mary G. Daughter 15   " " "
  James G. Son 14   " " "
  John G. Son 12     " "
  Thomas G. Son 9     " "
  Barney G. Son 7     " "
  Henry G. Son 5     " "
  Ellen G. Daughter 1     " "
Sloane John Head 40 Farmer Single R.C. Co. Down
  Bridget Sister 28   " " "
  Annie " 27   " " "
Doyle Jane Head 60   Widow R.C. Co. Down
  Lena Daughter 25 Dressmaker Single " "
  Hugh Son 24 Farmer " " "
  Stephen " 20 Farmers Assistant " " "
  Nellie Daughter 18   " " "
  Sarah " 16 Scholar " " "
Burns Michael Head 45 Labourer Married R. C. Co. Armagh
  Annie Wife 49     " Co. Louth
White Mary Head 68   Widow R. C. Co. Down
  Peter Son 36   Single " "
  Patrick " 30   " " "
Whyte James Head 63 Farmer Married R. C. Co. Down
  Mary A. Wife 50     " "
  Marie E. Daughter 17 Scholar   " "
  Annie A. " 10 "   " "
  Margaret M. " 8 "   " "
White Patrick Head 54 Farmer Married R. C. Co. Down
  Sarah Wife 58     " "
  James Son 23 Farmer Single " "
  Joseph " 21   " " "
  Sarah Ann Daughter 15 Scholar   " "
  Luke Son 13 "   " "
  John " 11 "   " "
  Norah Daughter 9 "   " "
  Winifred " 7 "   " "
  Gerald Son 4     " "
Sloan Thomas Head 42 Farmer Married R.C. Co. Down
  Margaret Wife 37     " Co. Louth
  Margaret Mary Daughter 6     " Co. Down
  Charles J. Son 5     " "


Hilltown takes its present name, not from the surrounding hills, but from the Hill or Downshire family who once held sway in the area. It was earlier known as Eight Mile Bridge and it was here, in 1681 that the reparee Redmond "Count" O'Hanlon, the Irish Robin Hood, was betrayed by his foster-brother for bounty.

A short distance outside the town is the ruin of the ancient Clonduff church which was destroyed during the rebellion of 1641 and only the gable wall still stands. The adjoining graveyard is the burial place of the clan Magennis of Iveagh who took the side of the Irish during the rebellion and as a consequence lost possession of their lands. Beside them lies the remains of John O'Neill, the last descendant of the famous O'Neills of Tyrone. (Incidentally, it was one of the Magennis family whose descendant founded the world-famous brewery in Dublin.)

In the vicinity there is ample evidence of much earlier settlement. In Goward townland, for example, there is Pat Kearney's Big Stone, formerly known as Finn McCool's Fingerstone. It is said that Finn playfully threw the stone from Spelga, a couple of miles away and that his fingermarks are still visible! In the same townland is a horned cairn where the first Neolithic pottery ever to be recovered in Ireland was found.

During the smuggling era of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries when the contraband was carried through the mountains, Hilltown was one of the main distribution centres. In 1835 there were twenty-one houses in the town and no fewer than twelve of these were public-houses! A 'Hilltown measure' is still a glass that is full and flowing over! The Downshire Arms has been refurbished and is now a community-owned restaurant.

Church Records

Roman Catholic Church Records Clonallon

Location Reference Nature
National Library of Ireland Pos,5497 Microfilm
Baptism Marriage Burial
Nov.28th.1826 to Nov.17th.1838
Nov.19th.1838 to Jan.9th.1869
Nov.23rd.1826 to Dec.30th.1880  


Location Reference Nature
Public Record Office of Northern Ireland MIC.1D/22 Microfilm
Baptism Marriage Burial
1826 - 1869 1826 - 1882  


Location Reference Nature
LDS Family history library British Film Area 0926077 item 1-2 Microfilm
Baptism Marriage Burial
Nov 28 1826 - Nov 17 1838
Nov 19 1838 - Jan 9 1869
Nov 23 1826 - Dec 30 1880  


Location Reference Nature
Ulster Historical Foundation   Database
Baptism Marriage Burial
1826 - 1900 1826 - 1900  

   Church of Ireland Warrenpoint

Location Reference Nature, Other, Formerly Chapel of Ease to Clonallon.
None   PRO listing
Baptism Marriage Burial
1825-1875 1826-1846-  


Location Reference Nature, Other, vestry minutes 1826-70; confirmations 1853-89; parish register extracts, 1829-66
Public Record Office of Northern Ireland MIC.1/85; T.679.50; DIO.1/14/11 Microfilm
Baptism Marriage Burial
1828-1878 1826

Presbyterian, Warrenpoint (N. S. P.)

Location Reference Nature, Other,Minutes 1840-70, 1839-53; stipend and seatholders account books 1832-49; poor account book 1836-9; account book 1942-60
Public Record Office of Northern Ireland C.R.4/4  
Baptism Marriage Burial
See full listing    


Location Reference Nature
Public Record Office of Northern Ireland MIC.1P/307  
Baptism Marriage Burial
1832-1986 1823-1907  


Location Reference Nature, Other, Minutes 1840-70, 1839-53; stipend and seatholders account books 1832-49; poor account book 1836-9; account book 1942-60
Ulster Historical Foundation   Microfilm
Baptism Marriage Burial
1844 - 1900 1844 - 1900  


Location Reference Nature, National Archives original listing. Burnt in 1922
Local custody   Original
Baptism Marriage Burial
1889 -