Extended opening hours announced for Narrow Water Keep

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Thursday, July 21st, 2016
Community, What's On
Extended opening hours have been announced by the Department for Communities’ Historic Environment Division for Narrow Water Keep. Narrow Water Narrow Water Castle Dow 051-044From 2nd July to 2nd October, the monument will be open from 10am to 5pm on Sundays, Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Narrow Water Keep is a State Care historic monument in the townland of Narrow Water, in Newry and Mourne District Council area. Narrow Water keep is located on a fordable point on the Newry River. It was built in the 1560s by John Sancky to control traffic on the Newry River at this narrow point above Carlingford Lough and would have acted as a counterbalance to the O’Neill tower-house at Fathom on the other site of the lough. The Magennis family are recorded as holding Narrow Water Keep in the 1580s but was retaken by the English in 1596. Under a compromise agreement it was given over to a lesser Magennis family on condition that English troops could use it when necessary. In 1601, Sir Samuel Bagenal, nephew to Sir Nicholas Bagenal, marshall of the Queen’s Army, was granted the custodianship of the castle and lands at Narrow Water. It was seized by Sir Conn Magennis in 1641 who held both the castle and Newry for the Irish and in 1644 Narrow Water held for the Kind against Parliament.
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July 2016The castle was repaired and continued to in use throughout the 17th century. Narrow Water was obtained by Joseph Dean who sold it to Francis Hall, Sheriff of county in 1670. It is uncertain if the Halls actually lived at the Keep and by the mid 18th century it was used for industrial purposes before being recorded as being used as kennels in 1834 by the local hunt. Narrow Water is typical example of the tower houses built throughout Ireland from the 14th until the early 17th century. This kind of building, normally rectangular in plan and three or more storeys high, comprised a series of superimposed chambers, with stairs, closets and latrines skillfully contrived within the walls (which are 1.5 metres or five feet thick in places) or sometimes contained in projecting angle turrets. Tower-houses, often associated with a bawn (defesive wall), combined the function of a residence with the strength of a fortification. Narrow Water Keep itself was three stories high with an attic. The ground floor was used for storage, the first may have been used as a guardroom. The second floor would have been the main chamber. The entrance main entrance into the keep was protected by a roofless forebuilding that was directly below a machicolation, or drop hole. Children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

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