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Ulster Architectural Heritage Launches Latest Volume: ‘Buildings of South County Down’

Ulster Architectural Heritage (UAH) has an unrivalled reputation for publishing beautiful, high quality illustrated books celebrating and promoting Ulster’s historic built environment, and we are delighted to announce our latest title: Buildings of South County Down compiled by historian Philip Smith with photographs by Alan Turkington.

Posted on: 8th April 2019

This handsomely designed and richly informative volume will be launched by Dr Edward McParland on Wednesday 1st May at 4.30pm to an audience of invited guests in the picturesque surroundings of the impressively restored late-18th-century Ballydugan Mill just outside Downpatrick.

While ‘landmark’ and ‘seminal’ can be overused terms, it is no overstatement to say that the UAH’s ‘Buildings of…’ series justified both publishing descriptors. The late Sir Charles Brett authored the now famous trio of Buildings of North County Down (2002), Buildings of County Armagh (1999) and Buildings of County Antrim (1996) with the Times Literary Supplement describing them to be ‘of immense use in the broadest educational sense’ and the Irish Times calling them ‘indispensible as reference works … [with a] superb combination of words and pictures … a joy to handle and use’.  This new, fourth, volume takes up where Sir Charles Brett left off, completing the architectural journey around the southern part of County Down. Like Brett in the predecessor volumes, the author, Philip Smith, does not set out to provide an inventory of buildings but rather represents a selection of some of the more important or interesting buildings in the area – the geography covers those parts of the county belonging to the current Newry, Mourne and Down District Council and to the pre-2015 Banbridge District Council (now part of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council).

The format follows that established in the earlier volumes, both in terms of presentation and building types included. Sections cover antiquities, churches and chapels, grand houses, middling-sized and small houses and cottages, public and commercial buildings, and follies and monuments. The buildings are described in detail with information on their history, the people involved and lively anecdotal snippets. Primary and secondary sources of information are provided in footnotes and each entry is illustrated by at least one excellent colour photograph specially taken for the book by recently retired architect Alan Turkington.

For the author, this new book has been the result of extensive research and writing. Philip Smith says, ‘As a child I was always interested in history in a visual sense – imagining how things would have looked in the past. I used to wander home from school, taking in the buildings I passed along the way and wondering when they were built, why they were designed as they were, and who was responsible for their construction. I have been fortunate to translate this interest into my working life, having been involved in surveying and writing about historic buildings in Ireland both north and south for much of the last 20 years, and my enthusiasm for the subject remains undimmed. I hope some of this emerges from Buildings of South County Down, and if it does, and prompts others to take an interest in what they see in the landscape around them, then this book will have served its purpose.’

Everyone with an interest in Ulster’s built environment and history, and all those who already own copies of the ‘Buildings of…’ series, will certainly want to ensure that they obtain a copy of this latest superb UAH book following its launch.

Preorder the book now: :

For further information, please contact:

Ulster Architectural Heritage

Old Museum Building

7 College Square North



E: [email protected]

T: 0289 055 0213


  • LAUNCH: Press and photographers are welcome to attend and cover the event on Wednesday 1st May contact the UAH office for more information: [email protected]
  • 978-0-900457-82-1, £28 (230 pages, 280 illustrations 280 and hardback).
  • The author is available for interview – enquiries can be made through the UAH Office (details above).
  • Ulster Architectural Heritage: UAH is a charitable, membership organisation founded in 1967. It exists to promote appreciation, preservation and conservation of architecture across the nine counties of Ulster. Over the last 50 years the UAH has established itself as a fearless campaigner for buildings of merit, a generous resource of information on local architecture, and a fair and helpful source of advice. Its main activities include campaigning & lobbying, support & advice, publications and events. The UAHS works with the Historic Environment Division, (HED), at the Department for Communities, (DfC), to record and promote the conservation of listed buildings at risk through the Heritage at Risk NI, (HARNI) partnership.
  • PHILIP SMITH – author – was educated at Queen’s University Belfast, and has worked as a historian in the field of built heritage since 1997. He has been closely involved with the Second Survey of Historic Buildings in Northern Ireland since its beginning and has also contributed to the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage in the Republic. He was a founder and editorial board member of the journal History Ireland and is the author of An Introduction to the Architectural of County Wicklow (2004). He works for Historic Environment Division and lives in County Armagh with his wife and two children.
  • ALAN TURKINGTON – photographer – was educated at Queen’s University Belfast and is a recently retired architect who worked for more than 25 years in the Department that lists and protects historic buildings, currently the Historic Environment Division of the Department for Communities. He has been a keen amateur photographer for even longer and has a continuing interest in visiting and photographing historic buildings, particularly English parish churches and their medieval contents. He lives in Newtownabbey and has two daughters.


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