/down/, n.1. a county in SW Northern Ireland. 311,876; 952 sq. mi. (2466 sq. km). Co. seat: Downpatrick.2. an administrative district in this county. 49,500; 253 sq. mi. (654 sq. km).
* * *IFormerly part of County Down, it was established as a district in 1973. It fronts Strangford Lough and the Irish Sea. Extreme southern and western Down is mountainous; the dome-shaped Mourne Mountains reach an elevation of 2,789 ft (850 m). Down is a rich agricultural district; livestock raising is important. Down was settled in prehistoric times. It was where St. Patrick began his mission in Ireland (AD 432), and his well and bathhouses are preserved near the district seat, Downpatrick. In Tudor times, parts of Down were colonized by English and Scottish adventurers.II(as used in expressions)Downing Andrew Jackson
* * *district, Northern Ireland. Formerly within County Down, Down was established in 1973 as a district on Northern Ireland's eastern coast, fronting Strangford Lough (inlet of the sea) and the Irish Sea. It is bordered by the districts of Ards to the north; Castlereagh, Lisburn, and Banbridge to the west; and Newry and Mourne to the south. Extreme southern and western Down is mountainous; the dome-shaped Mourne Mountains (see photograph—>) reach an elevation of 2,789 feet (850 metres) at Slieve Donard on the Down–Newry and Mourne border. Most of the district is covered by clusters of drumlins (drumlin) (oval mounds of glacial till). The area was invaded by the Anglo-Norman John de Courci (Courci, John de) in the late 12th century, and the town of Downpatrick was his stronghold until 1203. The Downpatrick (Protestant) Cathedral is reputedly built over the burial site of St. Patrick (Patrick, Saint), who began his mission in Ireland (AD 432) in the nearby village of Saul.Down is a rich agricultural district; the chief crops are oats, barley, wheat, and hay. Livestock raising (sheep and pigs) is also important. Downpatrick is the district's market and administrative seat and has some textile industry, while Ballynahinch, located farther west, has agricultural machinery and metal-fabrication industries. Newcastle in the south and Killyleagh in the east are popular seaside resorts. Tollymore Forest Park, about 1,200 acres (500 hectares) of forest on the slopes of the Mourne Mountains in southern Down, was the first such park established in Northern Ireland (1955). Area 249 square miles (646 square km). Pop. (2004 est.) 66,759.former (until 1973) county, eastern Northern Ireland. It was bounded by Belfast Lough (inlet of the sea; north), the Irish Sea (east), Carlingford Lough (south), former County Armagh (west), and former County Antrim (northwest).Down had an area of 952 square miles (2,466 square km), and it had three areas of high ground. In the south are the Mourne Mountains (Slieve Donard, 2,789 feet [850 metres]), composed of Eocene (38,000,000-year-old) granite; and in the centre are the Caledonian granite mountains of Ballynahinch (Slieve Croob, 1,755 feet). The land falls westward to the Newry Basin and the River Bann and eastward to the Ards Peninsula, enclosing Strangford Lough (inlet of the sea), a large tidal inlet. A belt of glacially deposited ovoid hills (drumlins) extend westward from former central County Down. The basic geology is Silurian (Silurian Period), with much slate and sandstone. The climate is temperate, rainfall varying from 65 inches (1,650 mm) a year in the Mournes to less than 35 inches in the east and north. Although soils of the southern slopes in the north are very fertile, a shallow stony loam predominates.Evidence of prehistoric settlement is found in the Giant's Ring, south of Belfast. There a cromlech, or circle of stones, stands enclosed by a broad rampart; and near Newcastle there is a well-preserved souterrain, or underground chamber. At Saul, St. Patrick (Patrick, Saint) began his mission in Ireland (AD 432), and a monastic school flourished at Bangor from the 6th century. The saint's well and bath houses are preserved at Struell near Downpatrick, and a boulder marks his reputed grave in the grounds of Downpatrick Cathedral. Dromore is the ancient ecclesiastical capital of Down. In the late 12th century, Down was invaded by the Anglo-Norman John de Courci (Courci, John de); many of the mounds forming the bases of his forts remain. Numerous castles fringe the eastern part of the county (e.g., a Norman castle of Dundrum and Jordan's Castle at Ardglass). Although English influence declined in the late Middle Ages, it lingered on the peninsula of Lecale, between Dundrum and Downpatrick. In later Tudor times, parts of Down were colonized by English and Scottish adventurers; and, though the county was not included in the Plantation of Ulster scheme during the reign of James I, there was a large influx of Scottish colonists in the 17th century. In the 1973 administrative reorganization of Northern Ireland, the county was divided into the districts of Banbridge, Down, Ards, and North Down, and portions of Castlereagh, Lisburn, Craigavon, and Newry and Mourne districts.
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