Category Archives: Weekly City Spotlight

Weekly City Spotlight: Newport/’Casnewydd’

Newport is the third largest city in Wales, with a city population of 145,736. The charming city can be found in south east Wales on the River Usk, around 12 miles northeast of the welsh capital, Cardiff. Granted city status in 2002, Newport hosted the Ryder Cup in 2010 and will be the venue of the 2014 NATO summit. A variety of major regeneration projects have been carried out on the city since 2004.

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Weekly City Spotlight: Glasgow

Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland, in fact, Glasgow is the third largest city in the whole of the United Kingdom. With a population of around 600,000 and a population density of 8,790 per square mile, Glasgow has the highest population density in Scotland. The entire region surrounding the city covers is roughly 2.3 million people, 41% of Scotland’s population.

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Weekly City Spotlight: St Asaph/Llanelwy

St Asaph lies between Denbigh and the coastal town of Rhyl in north-east Wales. The city is full of breath-taking views, enchanting history and is even home to the smallest cathedral in Britain. With a population close to 3,700, St Asaph is home to the North Wales Music Festival, which is held in the cathedral each year towards the end of September.

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Weekly City Spotlight: Lisburn

Lisburn is a city in Northern Ireland, situated on the River Lagan, southwest of the capital Belfast. Forming a section of the Belfast metropolitan area, Lisburn has a population close to 72,000, making it the third largest city in Northern Ireland.

Set in the beautiful Lagan Valley the area covers 174 square miles of contrasting scenery from the gentle drumlins of the open countryside to its many picturesque towns and villages. The City centre still retains many architectural buildings and streets dating from the 18th century but it is also a lively bustling modern city.

Lisburn was previously a borough and was granted city status in 2002 as part of Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee celebrations.

Historic Lisburn

In the 1620s, Lisburn’s streets were pretty much the same as they are set out today, including Bow Street, Market Square, Castle Street and Bridge Street. In 1628, Sir Edward Conway acquired a charter from King Charles I, which granted the town to hold a weekly market. To this day, the market is still held every Tuesday in the city. The Manor House was ruined in the l fire of 1707 and was sadly never rebuilt (Lisburn’s Latin motto, Ex igne resurgam, refers to this event).

Lisburn was significant in regards to Ireland’s linen industry, which began in 1698 by Louis Crommelin and various other people. Many people consider the city the birthplace of Ireland’s linen industry, and an exhibition detailing it all can be found in the Irish Linen Centre, located in the old Market House in Market Square.

Social Media

Additional information on Lisburn can be found on the Visit Lisburn website and Visit Lisburn Facebook page.

Famous Faces

Sir Richard Wallace created baronet in 1871 and was Member of Parliament for Lisburn from 1873 to 1885.

William David Trimble, Baron Trimble, is a politician who was the first First Minister of Northern Ireland from 1998 to 2002, and the Leader of the Ulster Unionist Party from 1995 to 2005.


Hillsborough Fort

Set in Hillsborough Forest and built on the site of the old Magennes stronghold, the Fort was built in 1630 by Peter Hill and completed around 1650 by Colonel Arthur Hill. The structure was constituted as a Royal Fort by Charles II.

Irish Linen Centre and Lisburn Museum

This award winning museum is located in Lisburn’s oldest building; the 17th Century Market House, which can be found in the city centre. It brings to life the history of the Irish Linen Industry and its importance to Lisburn. Visitors can see the heritage of craft skills in the daily demonstrations of hand-spinning and handloom-weaving and admire the treasured collection of damask linen and costumes.

Weekly City Spotlight: Swansea/Abertawe


Swansea, officially known as the City and County of Swansea, is a city and county on the south coast of Wales. The city has a population of over 239,000 making it the second largest city in Wales after the capital, Cardiff. Swansea is in fact the twenty-sixth largest city in the United Kingdom and is situated next to the historic county boundaries of Glamorgan on the beautiful south west Wales coast.

During its industrial heyday, Swansea was a key centre of the copper industry, often being associated with the nickname ‘Copperopolis’ in the 19th century.

When visiting Swansea, be sure to bring a raincoat with you as the Met Office rank it as the wettest city in Britain. But don’t let that steer you away from one of the UK’s most picturesque cities, because during midsummer, Swansea’s temperatures can soar into the high twenties Celsius.

Historic Swansea

Swansea was once called Sweins ey, which means Swein’s island. The island stood in the mouth of the River Tawe. Who Swein was is not known for sure but he may have been a Norseman who built a fort on the island about 1000 AD and used it as a base for raiding the Welsh coast.
The town of Swansea was founded in the early 12th century when the Normans conquered the area. The Norman lord built a wooden castle on the site of Worcester Place. A town soon grew up by the castle. The garrison of Swansea castle provided a market for the people of the town and all their goods. Many of the townspeople were English immigrants. Around 1158, Swansea was given a charter and King John gave Swansea another charter in 1215.

Social Media

Additional information on Newry can be found on the City and County of Swansea website and Swansea Council Twitter.

Representation in the media

Swansea has been used as a location for films such as Only Two Can Play, Submarine and Twin Town, the TV series Mine All Mine and in episodes of Doctor Who.

Swansea was the first city in Wales to feature in its own version of the board game Monopoly. The Swansea edition of Monopoly features 33 local landmarks and has been produced in both English and Welsh.

Famous Faces

Catherine Zeta-Jones CBE, actress

Bonnie Tyler, singer

Chris Coleman, former footballer and current Welsh National team manager

Rob Brydon MBE, comedian, actor and presenter


Maritime Quarter


WWII bombing flattened much of central Swansea, which was rebuilt as a rather soulless retail development in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s. What little remains of Georgian and Victorian Swansea stretches from Wind St and York St to Somerset Pl and Cambrian Way in the Maritime Quarter; this is the most attractive part of the city centre.

The Mumbles

The Mumbles have been Swansea’s seaside retreat since 1807, when the Oystermouth Railway was opened. Built for transporting coal, the horse-drawn carriages were soon converted for paying customers, and the Mumbles train became the first passenger railway service in the world. Newly fashionable in recent years, with top-notch restaurants competing for trade along the promenade, the Mumbles got a huge boost to its reputation when its most famous daughter, Hollywood actress Catherine Zeta-Jones, built a £2 million luxury mansion at Limeslade, on the south side of the peninsula.

Weekly City Spotlight: Newry


Newry is a city in Northern Ireland, with a population close to 30,000. The city is 43 miles from Belfast and 67 miles from Dublin and has the River Clanrye running through it, which forms the historic border between County Armagh and County Down.

In March 2002, as part of Queen Elizabeth’s Golden Jubilee celebrations, Newry was granted city status alongside Lisburn. Despite being the fourth largest city in Northern Ireland it is not the fourth largest settlement. Newry has long been an important centre of trade because of its position between Belfast and Dublin.

Newry is one of the country’s foremost shopping destinations with an array of traditional independent traders and multi-national retailers, which combine to provide great shopping opportunities. The town that was built on its trading traditions today still provides some of the best shopping in Ireland.

Historic Newry

It is believed that Newry was founded in 1144 together with a Cistercian monastery, however there are several ancient references referring to earlier settlements in the abbey area, where it is believed the first religious foundation was that of St Patrick.

The city’s name originates from this story, with the old name being Iuir Cinn Tra (The Head of the Strand), which eventually was revised and shortened to the word Newry. The monastery founded by St Patrick was burnt in 1162 along with the yew tree.

The railways arrived in 1849 bringing not further development but subordination as traffic on the inland canal dramatically decreased and Belfast’s dominance in Ulster grew.

By 1881 the population of Newry had reached its 19th century zenith of 15,590 but from the turn of the century until the 1960s there was a period of decline as the inland canal, the mills, the tram and the railways all closed.

Newry saw several violent incidents during the conflict known as the Troubles. These went on into the late 1990s and even in 2010 – such as bomb scares and car bombs.

Social Media

Additional information on Newry can be found on the Visit Newry & Mourne website and Destination Newry Twitter.

Famous Faces

Tomm Moore, an Oscar nominated filmmaker, was born in Newry before moving to Kilkenny at an early age.

Luv Bug were a pop group who represented Ireland at the 1986 Eurovision Song Contest that originated from Newry.

Daybreak host Christine Bleakley was born in Daisy Hill Hospital, Newry in 1979.



The Newry Canal opened in 1742. It is the oldest Canal in Ireland or Britain and runs parallel to the river through the town centre, and is a focus for the city’s redevelopment. A cycle path runs 30km north to Portadown, following the route of the canal.
Newry Ship Canal runs 6km south towards Carlingford Lough. Designed by Sir John Rennie, the civil engineer who designed Waterloo, Southwark and London bridges in London, the ship canal allowed large, sea-going vessels to reach Albert Basin in the centre of Newry.

Newry & Mourne Museum

This museum is housed in Bagenal’s Castle, the town’s oldest surviving building, with exhibits on the Newry Canal and local archaeology, culture and folklore. Recently rediscovered (having been incorporated into more recent buildings), the 16th-century castle was built for Nicholas Bagenal, grand marshal of the English army in Ireland.

Weekly City Spotlight: Derry/Londonderry


Derry, officially Londonderry, is the second largest city in Northern Ireland with a population of 107,877, accounting for 5.96% of the Northern Ireland total. The historic walled city is situated on the west bank of the River Foyle, which features one footbridge and two road bridges. Derry is known for its hilly landscape, with the River Foyle forming a deep valley through the city, making it a place of steep streets and breath-taking views.

In 2013, Derry was named the UK City of Culture, previously being awarded the title in 2010.

Historic Derry

Said to have been founded in the 6th century by Saint Colmcille (or St Columba), Derry was renamed Londonderry in 1613 upon the award of its Royal Charter by King James I. The city was the first planned city in Ireland, with the walls being completed in 1619, at a cost of £10,757.

During World War II, the city played a vital part in the Battle of the Atlantic. Ships from the Royal Navy, the Royal Canadian Navy, and other allied navies were posted in the city and the United States military also established a base. Over 20,000 Royal Navy, 10,000 Royal Canadian Navy, and 6,000 American Navy personnel were stationed in the city during the war. The establishment of the American presence in the city was the result of a secret agreement between the Americans and the British before the Americans entered the war. It was to be the first American naval base in Europe and the terminal for American convoys heading into Europe.

Social Media

Additional information on Derry can be found on the Visit Derry website and Visit Derry Twitter.

Famous Faces

A number of famous faces have originated from, or are connected to, Derry. Just some are listed below.

Frederick Hervey, Bishop of Derry and 4th Earl of Bristol

Former Leicester City, Celtic and Aston Villa manager Martin O’Neill

Social Democratic and Labour Party founder and Nobel Peace Prize winner John Hume

Actresses Amanda Burton and Roma Downey

Authors Joyce Cary, Seamus Deane, Jennifer Johnston and Nell McCafferty

Girls Aloud member Nadine Coyle


Derry is home to a number of sports teams and clubs, with football and Gaelic football being the most popular in the city. Just some of the teams and clubs are listed below.


Derry City FC are professional and play at the Brandywell Stadium in the League of Ireland Premier Division.

Institute FC are semi-professional and play at the Riverside Stadium in the NIFL Premiership.

Oxford United Stars FC play at the Swilly Stadium and currently compete in the Northern Ireland Intermediate League.

Gaelic Football

Derry GAA are the county team and play in the Gaelic Athletic Association’s National Football League, Ulster Senior Football Championship and All-Ireland Senior Football Championship. They also field hurling teams in the equivalent tournaments. There are many Gaelic games clubs in and around the city, for example Na Magha CLG, Steelstown GAC, Doire Colmcille CLG, Seán Dolans GAC, Na Piarsaigh CLG Doire Trasna and Slaughtmanus GAC.


St Columb’s Cathedral

Built between 1628 and 1633 from the same grey-green schist as the city walls, this was the first post- Reformation church to be erected in Britain and Ireland, and is also oldest surviving building in the city.

Tower Museum

The award winning Tower Museum is set within the city’s historic walls at Union Hall Place. Permanent exhibitions at the museum include The Story of Derry exhibition and the An Armada Shipwreck – La Trinidad Valencera exhibition.


Standing just outside the city walls, the neo-Gothic Guildhall was originally built in 1890, then rebuilt after a fire in 1908. The Guildhall is noted for its fine stained glass windows, and its clock tower which is modelled on London’s Big Ben. Following a major restoration in 2012–13, the Guildhall now hosts a historical exhibition on the Plantation of Ulster, and is also a tourist information point.

Harbour Museum

The small, old-fashioned Harbour Museum, with models of ships, a replica of a currach (an early sailing boat of the type that carried St Colmcille to Iona) and the bosomy figurehead of the Minnehaha, is housed in the old Harbour Commissioner’s Building next to the Guildhall.