A county on the east coast of Ulster. It can also be called Downshire. Down runs from the highly urbanized, southern Belfast and its suburbs, to the wild Mourne Mountains. Downshire’s west coast itself is the Ards peninsula, which clasps itself around Strangford Lough, a large sea loch, bringing the sea into the heart of the county. Strangford Lough has within it a scatter of many little low islands and of banks covered and uncovered by the tide, all owned by the National Trust. Belfast lies athwart the Antrim-Down border. The Lagan running down into Belfast, forms Down’s northern edge and up it spread the Belfast suburbs. The north coast of County Down has genteel commuter towns for Belfast such as Bangor, while the rest of the north of the county is agricultural. In the south of County Down are the Mourne Mountains, remarkably precipitous granite peaks of which Slieve Donard (2,796 feet) is the highest mountain in Northern Ireland. The mountains run down to the sea at Newcastle and at Carlingford Lough. Carlingford Lough forms the border with the Irish Republic.
County Town: Downpatrick
Main Towns: Ballnahinch, Banbridge, Belfast, Dromore, Newcastle.
Main Rivers: Lagan, Bann, Clanrye, Quoile.
Highlights: Exploris aquarium, Portaferry; Dromore Cathedral; Lahananny Dolmen; St Patrick’s Grave, Downpatrick; The Old Inn, Crawfordsburn.
Highest Point: Slieve Donard, 2796 feet.
Area: 950 sq miles
Flower: Spring Squill