Carlingford Community Newsletter – April 2020 Edition

Carlingford Community Newsletter

April 2020 Edition

This newsletter is jointly produced by the five bodies representing the Carlingford community, namely:

Carlingford Lough Heritage Trust CLHT

Carlingford & Cooley Tourism Assoc. CCTA

Carlingford Tidy Towns CTT

Carlingford Community Development CCD (The Foy Centre)

Carlingford Residents Association CRA

Editor’s Note:

You may have noticed that the newsletter has been absent for the last 4 months which was entirely due to difficulties with distribution, but we are glad to say that We Are Back to supply the social glue that is needed in these strange times we are now living through.

Carlingford Community Forum News

A big thank you to everyone in Carlingford and to those who would normally visit us, for observing Government guidelines regarding Covid-19. The photograph below shows The Square early on Sunday afternoon April 19th, at a time when it would usually have been thronged with people. One month earlier, on the weekend of March 22nd, many residents were concerned about the numbers of visitors. The Forum liaised with the Gardaí and the Local Authority. Stricter regulation followed nationally and we acknowledge the efforts of An Garda Síochána in enforcing the new laws in our area.

A notice recently appeared adjacent to the Allied Irish Bank A.T.M. in Carlingford advising that it was to be removed. On contacting A.I.B we learned that the A.T.M estate had been taken over by Brinks. Further negotiations have since taken place and we are hopeful that the A.T.M. will remain at its current location. We acknowledge the efforts of Councillors McGreehan & Watters in addressing this issue.

The Forum extends a Céad Míle Fáilte to the new Manager and staff of Carlingford Heritage Centre and we look forward to hearing of their efforts on behalf of Carlingford at our Forum meetings.

Work has halted for the moment on the renewal of Strand Lane and part of Old Quay Lane due to Government regulation of the Building Industry. This is a project under the Town & Village Renewal Scheme and we look forward to its completion in the near future.

We wish safety and well-being to all.

Heritage News 

Carlingford Lough Heritage Trust appoints new Staff funded by Pobal

Linda Stevens, Sheila Boyle and Gerry Hoey have been appointed by the Directors of CLHT to manage the day to day activities of the Trust. The positions are funded under the Community Services Programme (CSP) financed by Pobal on behalf of the Department of Rural and Community Development. The aim of the new staff is to work with the Directors to develop and strengthen the activities of the Trust and to increase engagement with the local community.

Linda Stevens, the new manager, formerly worked at University of Limerick managing a UL community enterprise company. She is from Castlebellingham and recently moved back to her family home. Linda believes Carlingford offers a lot to its residents and visitors and can do more to enhance town life and to attract heritage tourism.

Sheila Boyle, Administrator, is well known to readers as she is from Carlingford and has been associated with the Heritage Centre for some time. She knows the history of Carlingford well and has a particular interest in genealogy and enjoys helping visitors search for their family connections with the area.

Gerry Hoey is the new Caretaker. Originally from Tallanstown, he now lives in Blackrock and has a keen interest in the area and in particular is interested in environmental conservation.

Chairman, Harry Mc Carthy is delighted to welcome the new staff team. He says “the appointment of full-time staff funded by Pobal CSP scheme is of tremendous benefit to our Board as it will relieve the Directors of the Trust of the daily management role which they have carried out over the last 30 years.”

Carlingford Castle will open for tours as soon as it is possible

Carlingford Castle is due to open this summer for tours – we just do not know when this may be possible and await the plans for opening up public life. Following the €400k investment by Failte Ireland and the completion of the necessary work by the Office of Public Works (OPW) to make the Castle secure and suitable for public tours and events, Carlingford Louth Heritage Trust have been appointed to organise daily tours of the Castle. Tickets will be available on line and on site. Tours of the town and the Heritage Centre will also be offered with the visit to the Castle to give visitors an immersive medieval experience.

Details of the tours will be announced on our website and Facebook page when we can provide them. Tel: 0429373454


The Order of the Knights of the Temple, or the Templars, or ‘The poor fellow-soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon’ to give them their preferred title, were knights-at-arms under Holy Orders, founded in 1128 to protect pilgrims travelling to the Holy Land. They quickly became extremely wealthy as all across western Europe they were granted land and gold to finance their military operations. One of their benefactors was Matilda de Lacy, daughter of Hugh de Lacy who had built Carlingford Castle. Her initial grant in the 1260s was for forty acres but the Order eventually built up more than 300 acres of the best arable land. Most of it was in the townland that bears their name, Templetown, but they almost certainly held the townland of Ballug which had the only defensible castle in the immediate area. Matilda made a separate, larger grant of land centred on a religious establishment at Kildsaran near Castlebellingham, and it seems that these estates would have run at times all the way to Riverstown, joining up with the Templetown land.

In the murky world of medieval politics, the Templars got too big for their boots and early in the 14th century they fell out of favour with many of the kings and noblemen and women who had been so good to them.  They had a particularly bad falling out with Philip IV of France who had large numbers of them arrested and burned at the stake. By 1314 the Order was suppressed by papal decree and their lands seized. The Templetown lands fell into the hands of a competing Order, the Knights Hospitallers, who held it until the suppression of the monasteries by Henry VIII in the 1540s.

For more about the Templars see this article:
The Knights Templars in County Louth
Dermot Mac Ivor
Seanchas Ardmhacha: Journal of the Armagh Diocesan Historical Society,

Vol. 4, No. 1 (1960/1961), pp. 72-91

Calling all poets in North Louth to write for the Cooley Covid Poetry Collective

Many people are using this time to read and write poetry. There have been calls to write under the Covid Pandemic and now Poetry Ireland have just put out a call also.

What about creating a Cooley Collective at this time whereby you can send a poem to us at

It does not have to be about this period but rather inspired by the time you have to write now. Just write about what comes to you now. It can be the one you have sent to other poetry collectives. We will publish the poems on our Facebook page and then when we can gather again, we will hold a Poetry Day where all poets will be invited to come and read their poem. Those judged to be the best will be entitled to attend a poetry workshop organised by Carlingford Heritage Centre.

So, pen your poem and send it to us by 30 June at

Here is one for you to enjoy which was written recently for by Patricia-Anne Moore. Patricia-Anne (PA) is originally from Belfast and lives in Killaloe, County Clare. She has been published in local collectives including ‘The Stone’ published in Limerick. Patricia-Anne presents on a local arts programme on Scariff Radio. She is a regular visitor to Louth and Carlingford where she likes to break the journey going north.

We’ll never have this time again
To clear and cull
To prep and plant
To wait and watch
To hear and feel.

We’ll never have this time again
To listen and think
To trust ourselves
To be in touch,
To want so much.

We’ll never have this time again
To do no harm
To confront change
To turn the page
To grieve, to heal.
We’ll never have this time again

A Reflection on Carlingford by John Woods

(penned before Covid-19 overtook us)

Carlingford was always a good place to live.

When I grew up here in the 1940’s and 50s there was a school, 3 churches, a parochial hall, a good number of small shops, a Garda barracks, two petrol pumps, a chemist shop, ten pubs and a railway station.

The war was over and Sundays had an influx of buses from Belfast and jaunting cars from Omeath.

After the railway closed in 1951 Carlingford experienced a slow death as shops closed and families left for work opportunities elsewhere.

The social highlight of the year was The Regatta in August with model yacht racing, rowing, swimming and outboard motor racing followed by the Street Sports in Newry Street and the Regatta Dance in the Hall. The main events of the Street Sports were the tug of war and slow bicycle races.

It didn’t take much to amuse us.

There is an iconic photo of that era in the Village Hotel. It is of the Regatta Committee in about 1953. I check that picture every time I’m in McKevitt’s.

If any of that committee revisited us today they would find so much that was familiar to them in our streetscapes and ancient monuments and yet so much that is modern, new and exciting.

The population has greatly grown and live in good housing of varied types.

There is an excellent modern primary school with a first-class staff who make every effort to include parents and families in the school activities.

Tourism and related businesses have thrived and provide many work opportunities, particularly in summer, for locals and students.

Carlingford Nursing Home employs many locals and provides a vital service.

The Four Seasons Hotel has in recent times been upgraded to 4 Star. Its swimming pool has enabled a whole generation of young people to become very competent swimmers. Open water swimming on an all year basis has become a regular feature and the recent Christmas swim from pier to pier attracted a very large entry.

In recent years there has been a renaissance of Tidy Towns activity. Its new membership has tackled many blackspots and continue to improve the presentation of our town to the world. A recent award of runner up in a national competition “Pride of Place” is evidence that Carlingford is getting its act together.

To be an attractive place to set up home, a location should have many good qualities and it seems that Carlingford increasingly has these qualities.

We have good infrastructure, roads and services. We have, occasionally parking difficulties but this can be solved with a bit of ingenuity and investment.

There has been an impressive increase in the level of social opportunities that are available locally.

The Scouts and Girl Guides have been around for a while and provide training and opportunities to children and teenagers to be physically active, learn new skills and make friends.

The Sailing Club has made a good effort to encourage new members on to the water to join them and the thousands of young people partaking of the facilities provided by Carlingford Adventure Centre, on the sea and the mountain.

The Bridge Club, Pipe Band, Credit Union and Red Cross are all long standing and going strong but can always do with new members.

Cor Chairlinne have been singing for ten years and recently held their very successful Choral festival once again. They are always seeking new members to join their fun choir who practice in the Heritage Centre every week. No auditions necessary.

New kids on the block are Carlingford Knights junior rugby club playing at the Foy Centre pitch. Dozens of children and their parents and coaches are enjoying themselves every Saturday morning.

Carlingford Tennis club are the big surprise in the last year. Courts that were almost abandoned for years have received resuscitation. New and old tennis players have kindled and rekindled their mojo and brought the courts back to life. Over 50 players are taking part in a winter league.

The Foy Centre endured a number of tough years getting established and it’s bank loan eliminated but now is very successful and catering for all manner of community activities, including a Café, Pre School, gymnastics, drama and even singing lessons.

Carlingford Community Forum is a body made up of representation from affiliated local organisations for the purpose of representing Carlingford as one voice with the local authority. So far, it has achieved this objective and Louth Co. Council officials have met with the Forum on several occasions.

It is a few years now since Carlingford had a resident public representative. Maybe for the next election that can be changed by a local energetic individual from one of the organisations referred to in this piece.

We are a thriving community and there is always a need for new voices and opinions. It is important that the newer members of our community take on their share of ownership of the partnership that makes up the community of Carlingford.

The Foy Centre

All activities at the Foy Centre ceased at St Patrick’s weekend and we expect this to be the case until restrictions are lifted.

If there’s anything you would like to do to assist going forward

Please contact 087 633 1701.

Carlingford Tidy Towns

We are pleased to report that ‘Individual Community Gardening’ has been taking place in Abbey Court. Louise has been weeding the stone beds and she plans to add a splash of colour for the wooden boxes at the entrance to the close.

Her family has also lent a hand to repaint the wooden boxes both at the entrance to Abbey Court and outside the Heritage Centre. We greatly appreciate their efforts.

With all the clear outs we are finally getting around to, there has been a bit of a surge in the use of bring banks all around the country. Your Local Authorities are working extremely hard to keep everything running smoothly. You can help by not leaving items on or around the banks as this is considered as littering and the items may not get recycled. Please keep them at home until such times as we can once again visit the recycling depots!

It is hard to believe that people are quite correctly using these gloves whilst shopping, but then act irresponsibly by discarding them on our streets and roadside verges, with the potential to spread the virus! Please act responsibly.

Spring has come to Carlingford with the bulbs we planted in previous years now showing their colourful heads.

Tulips by the castle stile and muscari by the tennis courts.

Plus of course the wonderful show of five and a half thousand daffodils on the Newry Road. So at least there is something to enjoy whilst out taking our solitary exercise!

Your Tidy Towns group care how the town is presented and our volunteers do their best to take care of it for the whole community.

The National Tidy Towns Competition

Unsurprisingly, we have been advised that the National Tidy Towns Competition will not now be taking place in 2020.

Picnic tables

In some good news, CTT have been able to secure funding for a further two picnic tables for the Village Green. They will be the same type as we installed last year and the funding is being provided under the Tidy Towns Project Scheme 2020.

Would your Resident’s group like to plant Native Trees or Bee friendly Planting?

CTT can help with provision of garden centre vouchers as we have secured funding for this through Pobal. If your group would like to apply please phone 0429373686 or email with the following information before the 10th May:

  • The name of your Residents group and the number of houses in your estate/street.
  • Your list of requirements for what Native trees or Bee friendly plants you would like and where you will plant them.
  • A photo of the project area prior to planting.
  • Name, address, phone number and email address of a contact person for your group.

Planting ‘Trees and Bees project’

Since January, our volunteers have been busy planting trees and shrubs in public spaces around the town to attract pollinators.

A Heritage Orchard with trees including Lord Lambourne, Winston and Worcester Permain have been planted on the Omeath approach road embankment.

Likewise, Rowan Trees and St John’s Wort have been planted on the Greenore approach road. A Hawthorne has also been planted near The Fairgreen Carpark.

Can you help with Planting?

We will need a lot of help to continue our sustainable planting projects (which we embarked upon last year) once restrictions are lifted. Please ring 0429373686 if you would like to put your name down to assist.

Bee friendly planting of perennials is planned for The Village Green, the steps at King John’s Castle and also to enhance existing flower beds at D’arcy Magee and The Thosel Gate. Later in the season we will also need additional help to add plants to all existing planters on the promenade and elsewhere including the ‘up the pole’ baskets.

Spring Clean and AGM

Both of these events have now been postponed due to Covid-19.


Unsurprisingly there has been very little litter recently! However, we expect the usual battle to ensue once restrictions are lifted. For the time being anyone wishing to help with litter management whilst out on their walks may also telephone 0429373686 for bags and litter pickers.

Children’s Playground

CTT has obtained permission from the Council to paint some of the older items in the playground and we plan to do this later in the year.

CCT Volunteering

This normally takes place on a Thursday morning but has been suspended until further notice. When restrictions are lifted, we will resume when the meeting point is Carlingford Tennis Courts at 10am for both litter pick and planting. New volunteers would be very welcome when we are able to restart.

New Flowerbeds

We have been preparing two new flowerbeds this year so that they will be ready to plant when restrictions are lifted. One is being located to the left of the steps at the soon to be opened Carlingford Castle (or King John’s Castle, if you prefer), whilst the other will be on the village green. We have spent the winter months thoroughly researching which perennials are most likely to attract bees and are very eager to continue with these projects.

Work in the Community

We have noticed that private property owners have been using the additional time afforded during the lockdown to good effect by painting their houses and completing jobs in their gardens that they had always been meaning to get around to. People have been creating raised beds to grow vegetables in addition to tending their flowerbeds. Thank you for your individual efforts which all help to create a town to be proud of.

Carlingford Tidy Towns – Community Survey

CTT will be conducting a survey to find out what aspects people would like to see improved so that this can direct our applications for funding in the future. Once restrictions are lifted this survey will be available in the Centra.

Spring bulbs

All the Spring bulbs we planted last autumn (Tulips, Daffodils, Crocus) are looking good now. We hope this brings you some cheer in this difficult time.

Trashion Fashion

The next item was held over from February when the newsletter remained unpublished that month. So many students had spent their spare time creating such magnificent outfits from waste materials that we felt you should see their outstanding work.

Trashion Fashion was so exciting this year. Such a great crowd. Secondary School students create fashion out of waste materials and compete towards a National Event. As in past years, it showed great collaboration between Louth Tidy Towns Together, Louth County Council and the local Secondary Schools. Our CTT volunteers helped out behind the scenes and distributed tickets locally.

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Carlingford Resident’s Association

There follows a few pictures of the deserted streets of Carlingford in a very untypical Easter 2020.

© Copyright, Photo credited to –
© Copyright, Photo credited to –
© Copyright, Photo credited to –
© Copyright, Photo credited to –

If you run a local community group and would like to advertise your past or future events in this newsletter, please contact the undersigned.

Thank you for supporting your community

If you have any ideas or comments please Email them to

and I will ensure they are brought to the attention of the appropriate committee.



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MAY 2021 EDITION Carlingford COMMUNITY NEWSLETTER MAY 2021 EDITION This newsletter is jointly produced by the bodies representing the Carlingford Community, namely: Carlingford Lough Heritage

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