Annalong (from Irish: Áth na Long, meaning "ford of the ships") is a seaside village in County Down, Northern Ireland at the foot of the Mourne Mountains. It is situated in the civil parish of Kilkeel and the historic barony of Mourne. It had a population of 1,778 people at the 2001 Census and lies within the Newry and Mourne District Council area. The village was once engaged in exporting dressed granite and is now a fishing and holiday resort. Annalong Primary School is in the village and Annalong Community Development Association was established in 1994.
On 13 January 1843, boats from Newcastle and Annalong set out for the usual fishing stations, and were caught in a gale. 14 boats were lost in the heavy seas including a boat which had gone to the rescue. Only two boats survived, the Victoria and the Brothers. 76 men perished, 30 of whom were from Annalong.
It is estimated that around 250 men from Annalong served in the Great War (1914-1918). These men were all volunteers as conscription was only introduced in Great Britain. 11.5% of these men sadly never returned.
Annalong Main Street is where most of the shops are situated, such as the small local branch of supermarket chain 'Today's local' which is a smaller 'Nisa' store (formally known as 'Holmes', but it has the local name of 'Sydney's'), a beauty salon ("Country Beauty") and a hairdresser ("GM Hair"). There is also a pub at the very bottom of the main street named the 'Harbour Bar', as it is right beside the harbour; it was burnt down a number of years ago but has been rebuilt with a 'Western' theme. There are many old cottages and houses in the harbour area, but new estates have been built on the outskirts of the village. The Post Office is now at the back of the larger Nisa (formerly Centra) store which is on the main road to Kilkeel and Newcastle, there are several small cafés along this road such as Top Nosh and The Galley with another takeout called Pepper Jacks and a Chinese Restaurant & Takeaway called Johnny Pangs. The doctor's surgery and chemist shop are also on the main road and at the Newcastle end of the village there is another pub called the "Halfway House".
A new Irish language and cultural centre Páirc na Mara was opened in 2012 by Conradh na Gaeilge Boirche Íochtar, the Lower Mourne branch of The Gaelic League, and was extended in 2014. The Gaelic League host a range of classes, activities and events and hire out function rooms for other community groups. The centre is situated beside the public toilets in the Marine Park facilities.
Main Street also has an Orange Hall which provides an environment for young people to learn new instruments and join a band where they can feel part of a team. These bands include Brunswick Accordion Band, Annalong Single Star Flute Band and Annalong Pipe Band. This Orange Hall has events throughout the year such as old fashion Gospel Services and different speakers coming in to talk about different subjects. Members of the orange lodge in Annalong all work together collecting for local charities such as Northern Ireland Hospice and other charities further afield such as the New Beginnings Project which aims at helping young children in Uganda to have a better standard of living.
Places of interest
- Annalong Cornmill was built in the 19th century and operated until the 1960s and was one of the last working watermills in Northern Ireland. It contains a grain drying kiln and three pairs of millstones. It is powered by a 15 ft water wheel and a 1920s Marshall "hot-bulb" 20hp engine. Restoration began in 1983 after it was acquired by Newry and Mourne District Council, and it reopened in 1985.
- Annalong harbour has received some regeneration over the past number of years. It dates back to the early 19th century and in later years was made bigger to receive schooners carrying granite to English cities and to import materials used to build the nearby dam at the Silent Valley. The harbour was enlarged in the 1880s to cope with the increased granite exports. A purpose built standard gauge railway was built from Annalong to transport almost all of the material for the construction of the reservoir. In recent years the harbour has been deepened and a pontoon added making it easier for small fishing boats and cruisers to dock at all states of the tide. In one of the neighbouring gardens the leading light for directing boats into the harbour remains.
- The Rocket Tower situated at Cowden's yard on the Kilkeel side of Annalong is a listed building. Despite being derelict it is believed to be the only rocket station remaining in Ireland. The tower housed the pigeons which were used as couriers between the Coastguard stations and the garage housed a rocket launcher which fired ropes to boats which ran aground during the smuggling in the 18th–19th centuries.
- Annalong Mural Project is a mural painted by pupils from Annalong Primary School and St. Mary's Glasdrumman depicting the area of the Mournes on Main Street. It was created in a cross-community effort between the two schools.
- Francis Rawdon Chesney (1789–1872) was born in Annalong. At 25 he was honoured for his heroism in saving the lives of several local fishermen who were caught in a storm. He was a British soldier and explorer in Asia and was able to demonstrate that the Suez Canal was feasible, bringing about its eventual construction. He also proved that the Tigris and Euphrates rivers were navigable, advocating the adoption of a Euphrates route to India.
Annalong is classified by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) as a village (i.e. it has a population between 1,000 and 2,250 people). On census day (29 April 2001) there were 1,778 people living in Annalong. Of these:
- 23.8% were aged under 16 and 19.1% were aged 60 and over;
- the average age was 36.2 years (Northern Ireland average age 35.8 years);
- 50.1% of the population were male and 49.9% were female;
- 25.9% were from a Catholic background and 71.8% were from a Protestant background;
- 3.1% of people aged 16–74 were unemployed;
- 7.5% of the local population had access to a car or van.
Annalong Presbyterian Church is situated on the main Newcastle to Kilkeel road. It was established in 1840 and the Meeting House was ready for use by 1842. Kilhorne Church of Ireland is located on the Kilkeel road. It is approached by a short driveway with the tower visible from the road. There is also a Gospel Hall along the Glasdrumman Road and a Free Presbyterian Worship Temple on the Moneydarragh Road. Roman Catholics in the village usually attend St Mary's Glasdrumman as there are no Catholic churches in the village.
- Annalong is represented by two soccer clubs. These were formerly based upon Protestant and Catholic origin, however now both teams are more mixed due to the decreasing religious tension in Northern Ireland. One is Annalong Football Club who field two teams in the S.K Holmes leagues whilst the other is Mourne Rovers who also participate in the S.K Holmes league. Andy McCormick was manager for many years and contributed greatly to the soccer scene in Annalong. Mourne Rovers is mainly made up of the players who also participate for the local Gaelic teams.
- While the village has no hockey team, it does have great tradition in the sport with most players from Annalong playing for the neighbouring Kilkeel Hockey Club.
- The village has no Gaelic Football team either although most players from Annalong play for neighbouring clubs, mostly Glasdrumman GAC and Longstone GAC.
- Annalong also has a canoe and kayak club named ACKC (Annalong Canoe and kayak club) which uses Kilkeel Leisure centre each Tuesday night for canoe polo and learning skills which are vital out on the sea or paddling down rivers. This club also has camping trips in which members of the club and their families attend and they all entail paddling whether it be in Canadian canoes, surfing or kayaking.
- Annalong Outdoor Bowling Club is the towns local bowling club.
- Annalong Primary School
- Moneydarragh Primary School
- St. Mary's Primary School
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Annalong.|
- Placenames Database of Ireland
- PlaceNames NI
- "Annalong". IreAtlas Townlands Database. Retrieved 15 April 2015.
- "Area Profile of Annalong - Based on 2001 Census". NI Neighbourhood Information Service. Retrieved 17 July 2012.
- "Annalong Community Development Association". Association website. Archived from the original on 7 March 2009. Retrieved 23 February 2009.
- O'Sullivan, Aidan & Breen, Colin (2007). Maritime Ireland. An Archaeology of Coastal Communities. Stroud: Tempus. p. 232. ISBN 978-0-7524-2509-2.
- "Annalong Corn Mill". Culture Northern Ireland. Archived from the original on 24 February 2012. Retrieved 23 February 2009.
- "Annalong". County Down - Towns. Archived from the original on 20 December 2008. Retrieved 23 February 2009.
- "Annalong Presbyterian Church". Church website. Retrieved 23 February 2009.
- "Kilhorne Church". Diocese of Down and Dromore Website. Retrieved 22 July 2014.