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Loughbrickland Historic Trail

Explore the attractive and historic village of Loughbrickland taking time to use the trail guide to appreciate the many attractive buildings in this quiet village. Leaving the roar of the A1 dual-carriageway taking traffic on this major arterial route the walk commences at the loughside , next to the A1, before following a safe underpass to the village. The route outlined in the trail guide can be up to 4.5 mile - this includes an interesting off road section through tranquil woodland and country lane at the Whyte's Estate. Hopefully, the trail guide will prompt a desire to find out more about the rich heritage of this part of County Down.

The Loughbrickland Historic Trail is a partnership project between the Loughbrickland and District Community Association, Loughbrickland Historical Group and Banbridge District Council made possible with funding assistance from the Heritage Lottery Fund and assistance from the Probation Service for Northern Ireland and Dr Jean Whyte.




4.5 miles

OS Map

Sheet 20

Nearest Town


Route Shape


Route Type

Parkland & Grassland, Urban, Woodland


Village trail & off-road section

Grid Reference (Start)


Grid Reference (End)


Point of Interest

Lough Brickland, attractive village, 2 scheduled monuments.

Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Other Area

Route Description

Loughbrickland village is located in the parish of Aghaderg, in the barony of Iveagh, about ½ mile northwest of the lough from which it takes its name.

The village is separated from the lough by the busy A1 Dual Carriageway carrying north/south traffic. Loughbrickland, which refers to the lough rather than to the village, is from Irish Loch Bricrenn – ‘the lough of Bricriu’. Bricriu ‘of the evil tongue’ was an unpleasant character recorded in the tale of ‘The Feast of Bricriu’ – one of the tales from the ancient Ulster sagas. Overlooking the lough from a hill near its SE extreme is Water Hill Fort which may have been the location of this feast. It certainly was an important ceremonial site and possibly the base of the main tribe in this part of Ulster. The site is a scheduled historic monument on private land. No public access.

Lough Brickland is approx. 25 ha in size and is a game fishery stocked with brown and rainbow trout by the Department of Culture Arts and Leisure. From the Lakeview Road car park follow for a short distance the rough anglers' access path which runs along the west shore, next to the dual-carriageway. Look out for the small island visible in the lough. This is a manmade island which archaeologists call a ‘crannog’. These were mostly constructed in the Early Christian and Medieval periods (between the 6th and 16th centuries AD) and were probably primarily defensive – occupied in times of danger by members of the noble classes. The lough was adjacent to a major ancient route way running north from the famous Moyry Pass west of Newry. This was the chief route into eastern Ulster from the south. The early Irish ‘annals’ record a Viking attack here in 833 AD when ‘Loch Bricrenn was plundered’. Congalach son of Eochaid was taken hostage and ‘afterwards died at the ships’. It is likely that the crannog was their target and ransom was the objective. The lough was a focus of political attention in AD 1005 when ‘the Ulstermen and the Uí Echach were defeated at Loch Bricrenn’ and the heir to the Uí Echach throne, Artán, was killed.

It was at the lough that Marmaduke Whitechurch from Staffordshire was granted lands by Elizabeth 1 in 1585 and instructed to build a castle to protect ‘a pass’ on this strategic location ‘where three roads united.’ The Magennis Clan, the ‘Lords of Iveagh’, ruled much of this area of County Down but the time of the Irish Lords was coming to an end along with much of the Gaelic culture of Ulster.

Marmaduke Whitechurch built a mill, a church and obtained the grant of a market and two fairs. He brought in settlers from England thus began the modern village. In the troubles of 1641 the castle was dismantled and the town destroyed by fire and remained this way until 1688 when the church was rebuilt and other buildings were later replaced. King William on his way to the battle of the Boyne in 1690 encamped with his troops on the lough shore. During World War II troops of many nationalities camped and trained in the Whyte Estate at the northern end of the village.

Retrace your steps to the Lakeview Road car park and walk to the Grovehill Road. Cross it and go through the underpass under the A1. Passing through the underpass you will see the attractive historic mural of the village created by the community group in conjunction with a local artist Deborah Malcomson and Eimear Walsh Head of Art & Design at Bridge Integrated College and pupils from the College.

Follow the instructions in the trail guide through the village. The trail guide highlights many of Loughbrickland's interesting and attractive buildings and includes a route through the village park.

You can confine your walk to the village or the more intrepid can continue the trail by entering the Whyte Estate at the far end of Scarva Street and taking the option of a shorter or longer circular walk within the estate. The Whyte family are related by marriage to Marmaduke Whitechurch and have continued to play an important role in the development of the village over the years.

Leaving the estate follow the directions in the trail guide to return to the starting point via the village park.

Important Info.

Ballyvally Archery Club use the woodland at the Whyte’s Estate for training and outdoor competitions. For public safety the route is closed on competition days which take place occasionally throughout the year. The walk in Whyte's Estate will closed on the following dates in 2015: Sat 18th Sun 19th April , Sat 16th /Sun 17th May, Sat 20th /Sun 21st June, Sun 26th July, Sun 16th August ,Sun 12th /13th Sept .

Getting to the Start

The trail starts near the junction of the B3 with the A1 at a small car park on the shore of Lough Brickland. Travelling south along the A1 at Loughbrickland take the road signed for Rathfriland (Grovehill Road) and the first turn off on the right (Lakeview Road) a cul-de-sac which leads to the lake, a row of houses and a parking area.


Dogs are allowed. Please keep under close control and clean up after your dog.


Public toilets located in Loughbrickland Park, off the Poyntzpass Road in the village, approx. 0.25 mile from start of walk. Shops, garage, pub and cafe in village.

Loughbrickland Park covers just over 9 acres the park is set out in informal style with open grass areas, a small wetland wooded area, stream, play area, toilets and paths. The main access and parking area for the park is located off the Poyntzpass Road and the park also has two pedestrian accesses from Main Street in the village.

Surrounding area:

The F.E. Mc William Gallery & Studio, 200 Newry Road, Banbridge, County Down, BT32 JNB
This facility houses an art gallery, sculpture garden, café and tourist information point. Opened in September 2008, the F.E. McWilliam Gallery and Studio is dedicated to the memory of the successful Banbridge born sculptor Frederick Edward McWilliam (1909 -1992). McWilliam is an internationally known sculptor of eclectic style – described as ‘An inventor of styles’. He was a contemporary of Brancusi, Henry Moore and William Scott. When he died his executors left his London studio and many examples of his work in different stages to the state with a view to it being displayed in his native town. The studio has been lovingly reconstructed by Banbridge District Council in a peaceful sculpture garden at this small modern gallery which houses many examples of his work. It is located approx. 2 mile from Loughbrickland, just off the A1, heading towards Banbridge. Join the A1 for a short distance taking the first exit (A26) to Banbridge. Follow to roundabout and pick up signage for the Gallery & Studio here (it is located next to this roundabout).
Free Admission.
Open Monday to Saturday only 10.00 am to 5.00 pm.

Lisnagade Fort: the only large triple-ringed earthwork recorded in County Down. It is a State Care monument located approx. 200 metres across a field (in agricultural use) off the Lisnagade Road, a couple of miles NW of Loughbrickland. (Grid ref: J087441). Leave the village via Scarva Street. Beyond the village boundary take the 2nd road on the right, the Lisnagade Road – continue north thru x-road for approx. ½ mile, looking for a small lay-by and pedestrian gate on the left. The fort is located towards the junction of the Lisnagade Road with the B3 Scarva/Glenloughan Road. To visit Scarva continue along the road to its junction with the B3, turn left onto this road and follow to the village.

Scarva Village & Newry Canal Towpath: The small village of Scarva is located along the former Newry Portadown Canal. It is located about 3.7 miles or 10 minutes drive west of Loughbrickland along the B3. The towpath forms part of the Newry Canal Way and provides an excellent flat cycle or walking route. The village also has an attractive park located next to Scarva Primary School, off Main Street.


Loughbrickland Historic Trail

Publication Availability

Free of charge from Banbridge Tourist Information Centre- 028 4062 3322 or from the Countryside Officer - 028 4066 0617 - and online at www.banbridge.gov.uk

Walk Location
Map of Northern Ireland
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