Newry was founded in 1144 alongside a Cistercian monastery, although there are references to earlier settlements in the area. It is one of Ireland’s oldest towns. Newry is at the entry to the “Gap of the North”, close to the border with the Republic of Ireland. It grew as a market town and a garrison and became a port in 1742 when it was linked to Lough Neagh by the first summit-level canal in Ireland. In 2002, as part of Queen Elizabeth’s Golden Jubilee celebrations, Newry was granted city status.