The American Cyclopædia (1879)/Down
DOWN, a N. E. county of Ireland, province of Ulster, bordering on the Irish sea and the counties Antrim and Armagh; area, 956 sq. m.; pop. in 1871, 277,775. Near the middle of the county is a group of hills, and in its S. W. part are the Mourne mountains, some of whose summits are among the highest peaks in N. Ireland; but with these exceptions the surface is generally level. There are several rivers, but only the Lurgan, which flows along the northern boundary, and the Bann, are important. All the streams and the lakes, which are numerous, abound in fish. Lough Strangford in the E. part is a large inlet of the sea, with which it communicates by a deep channel. The county contains many mineral springs, and is one of the best cultivated counties of Ireland, producing grain, peas, beans, potatoes, turnips, &c. Cattle, chiefly for dairy purposes, and hogs are reared in great numbers. There are extensive quarries of limestone, sandstone, and slate; and granite, coal, and chalk also occur. The most important manufacture is that of linen, though there are also cotton and woollen mills. The climate is healthy and somewhat cold, and the people generally are in better condition than those of most Irish counties. Fishing occupies many of the inhabitants. Some interesting and very ancient remains are found, and there are ruins of abbeys and castles of the middle ages. The chief towns are Downpatrick, the capital, and Newry.