BEGINNERS' BLAS 4
We look at the history of the logainm NEWRY
or IÚR CINN TRÁ.
St Patrick introduced Christianity to Ireland while himself being exiled
from France. During one of his exploratory missions to Ireland he set
up camp for himself on a sandy stretch of the Clanrye River (which by
the way does not look very beach like in it’s present form ) Whilst
settling himself there he took the decision to plant none other than a
Yew Tree symbolising Ireland’s growing and strengthening faith.
It is this story which gave Newry its name, "Iubhair Cinn Tragh"
(the Yew tree at the head of the strand). A monastery grew up around this
Yew tree, which was later replaced in 1144 by a Cistercian Abbey.
During the eighth century, Ireland and in particular Newry was frequently
invaded and raided by the Vikings. Monastries were particularly prone
to attack and St Edna's (Killeavy Old Church) suffered this fate. Viking
longships entered Carlingford Lough to travel up the Clanrye River through
Newry to attack other areas inland. In fact the name Carlingford does
not denote a crossing point as might be assumed from the English "ford".
The area was given this name because of the inlet's resemblence to a Scandanavian
Fjord and it was called for the (unknown now) Viking named Cairlinn.
The constant encroachment from the sea ended in the tenth century when
King Murtagh eventually defeated the Vikings. King Murtagh was the 'over-king'
in Ulster. By 1014 Brian Boru established himself as the high-king of
Ireland but was killed at the battle of Clontarf. In 1157 the High-King
of Ireland Murtagh MacLoughlin granted to the guardians of the monastery
in Newry a large tract of land, encompassing parts of Down, Armagh and
Louth, to own and rule. But in 1162 the monastery suffered a severe fire
which destroyed all the furniture and the legendary Yew tree which Patrick
planted, but it still survives in name.
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