As part of an on-going campaign to clean up Newry city, community group Newry 2020 are working on a project to convert a long suffered eyesore into a terraced garden. It's an area of blocked steps at the subway between Newry Cathedral car park and High Street and has been used as a dumping ground for years.

The group highlighted this eyesore in February 2017 and successfully applied for funding from the ‘Live Here, Love Here’ project and Newry BID to convert the steps. The efforts of the group had almost been thwarted several times in the intervening 18 months but last week the Clanrye Group began putting the plan into action removing rubbish and recently dumped sofas.

Construction work has begun on the terraced garden at High Street in Newry.
Construction work has begun on the terraced garden at High Street in Newry.

Commenting on the project Newry 2020 member Jonny McCullagh said: "The Department of Infrastructure / Roads Service are responsible for the area but failed to maintain it since enclosing it many years ago. Newry2020 initially approached the Department with the idea of converting it into an urban garden, but the Department wanted the Council to take responsibility for insuring and maintaining the space. In the end Newry 2020 had to pay public liability insurance to cover the new garden. This duplication of insurance at taxpayer expense is something the group plan to raise with local MLAs.

"With the funding reduced by insurance costs, we struggled to find contractors who could construct the garden within budget. We were eventually directed to the Clanrye Group and Tony McAteer, who have been hugely supportive and have demonstrated true pride in Newry and its people."

The eyesore that will soon become a beautiful terraced garden.
The eyesore that will soon become a beautiful terraced garden.

Clanrye Group’s REGENER8 is a Personal Youth Development Programme aimed at young people aged 16-25 living in the Newry and Mourne Area. REGENER8 is funded by the International Fund for Ireland and managed by the Rural Development Council. The Programme offers a range of qualifications alongside a range of workshops, peace and reconciliation trips, and good relations activities. REGENER8 offers five qualifications in Year 1. In Year 2, the programme lets the participant proceed with their vocational qualification, whilst focusing on employability.

Concluding Jonny added “It is great to see our young people working to contribute to their community and giving something back.”

Newry 2020 are hoping that this small project will enthuse local people to love their home, reduce litter and promote jobs in the area.

If there are any readers out there who would be interested in donating native plants or occasionally tending to the garden you can contact them at

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