Dundrum, County Down

This article is about the village in County Down. For other uses, see Dundrum.
Irish: Dún Droma
 Dundrum shown within County Down
Population 1,065 (2001 Census)
CountyCounty Down
CountryNorthern Ireland
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode district BT33
Dialling code 028
EU Parliament Northern Ireland
UK ParliamentSouth Down
NI AssemblySouth Down
List of places
Northern Ireland

Coordinates: 54°15′N 5°51′W / 54.25°N 5.85°W / 54.25; -5.85

Dundrum (from Irish: Dún Droma, meaning "fort of the ridge")[1][2] is a village and townland in County Down, Northern Ireland. It is beside Dundrum Bay, about 4 miles outside Newcastle on the A2 road. The village is best known for its ruined Norman castle. It had a population of 1,555 people in the 2011 Census.


Norman times

In 1177 the Normans, who had conquered great swathes of Ireland, invaded eastern Ulster and captured territories along its coast. John de Courcy, who had led the invasion, began building Dundrum Castle in the early 13th century on top of an earlier Gaelic fort. The castle was to guard the land routes from Drogheda to Downpatrick. In 1203, de Courcy was expelled from Ulster by fellow Norman Hugh de Lacy. Two years later, de Courcy tried to re-take the castle but failed. It was visited by King John in 1210, who spent money for minor works to the castle and paid for a garrison there.

15th Century

Dundrum castle was held by the Earls of Ulster until the 15th century, it was captured by the Magennises of Mourne, a Gaelic clan. In 1517 the Earl of Kildare briefly captured the castle, as did Lord Deputy Grey in 1538. The castle was surrendered to the Crown in 1601 by Phelim Magennis, granted to Edward Lord Cromwell and sold to the Blundell family. The Magennises re-took the castle during the Eleven Years' War but lost it to the Parliamentarians. The Blundells returned after the war and built the house on the south edge of the castle.

17th Century

In the 17th century, Ulster's ports began to rise in prominence. In 1625 William Pitt was appointed as Customer of the ports of Newcastle, Dundrum, Killough, Portaferry, Donaghadee, Bangor and Holywood.[3] Coal was a major import into Dundrum, where the East Downshire Steamship Company was based. Dundrum was a commercial port until 1984.

SS Great Britain

SS Great Britain stranded ashore in Dundrum Bay, 1846
A view of Dundrum from the castle

The SS Great Britain, one of the first iron ships and designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, was on its way from Liverpool to New York in 1846, when it ran aground during bad weather in Dundrum Bay. The captain, James Hosken, miscalculated the steamer's speed, and with poor charts, mistook the St John's Point lighthouse for the Chicken Rock lighthouse. It took a year to re-float the ship but it continued in use for many years before being installed as a visitor attraction in Bristol.

20th Century

In 1967, nearby Murlough became Ireland's first nature reserve.[4]


Dundrum railway station was opened by the Belfast & County Down Railway on 25 March 1869 and operated until 16 January 1950.[5]


Dundrum Cricket Club plays in the NCU Senior League.



Dundrum is classified as a village by the NI Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA)[6] (i.e. with population between 1,000 and 2,250 people). On Census day (29 April 2001) there were 1,065 people living in Dundrum. Of these:

Demographic change between 2001-2011

On census day ( 2011 ) there were 1555 people living in Dundrum Of these : 60.51 were from a Roman Catholic Background while 32.54 were from a Protestant and other Christian background For more details see: NI Neighbourhood Information Service


  1. Placenames NI
  2. Placenames Database of Ireland
  3. O'Sullivan, Aidan; Breen, Colin (2007). Maritime Ireland. An Archaeology of Coastal Communities. Stroud: Tempus. p. 211. ISBN 978-0-7524-2509-2.
  4. "Murlough National Nature Reserve". Discover Northern Ireland. Retrieved 2008-12-22.
  5. "Dundrum station" (PDF). Railscot - Irish Railways. Retrieved 2007-09-05.
  6. NISRA.gov.uk
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