Nestled in the quiet townlands of Loughorne & Ringbane, Newry, Co.Down lies the Harshaw/Martin Trail, which was launched in July 2002. Along the well worn paths in the 1800s walked John Martin,James Harshaw and the folk who were known to them and whose activities are uniquely recorded in the Harshaw Diaries.
To begin the walk, the starting point is the corner in Loughorne, known as McCrum's corner.
Then at a leisurely pace the walker goes out the lane to "Loughorne Cottage", birthplace and childhood home of John Martin. Underneath a covering of beech and sycamore trees, the "Cave Field" is passed, which contains a cave.
From "Loughorne Cottage" the walk goes across the long neglected "Meeting House Pad", which in former days was a hive of activities, as whole families made the journey in all sorts of weather to Donaghmore Presbyterian Meeting House. Also James Harshaw walked it daily to visit his sister Jane Harshaw Martin. Before going too far, if one looks to the right, the "Fabled Bower" can be seen, now an overgrown piece of ground.
Reaching the old Stile, it is only a short distance up to the "Duff Cottage", where Sally Duff once had a shop. Going over the flat meadow to the Ringbane or "Lough Road", as it is also known, the Harshaw Home comes into view. It is now owned by Jim Henning and despite the old archway and yard doors having gone, the house retains much of its original character.
After stopping at the "Diarist's" home the walk follows the road left, up to its junction with the Loughorne Road., which one goes down to the first lane on the right to Pollock's Farmhouse, which until a few years ago was known as "Something Special", as it had a little antique and bric a brac shop. This house originally belonged to Andrew Hopkins Megaw, who married Sarah Ann Harshaw, youngest daughter of James.
After a brief rest, we turn right down the hill, over the Shinn bridge, from whence once flowed the "Millrace" to the Flax mill of which not a stone is left.
Walking up the "Mill Brae" hill, looking right, "Loughorne House" comes into view. Continuing along the Loughorne road, at the bottom of the Manse Hill, to the left, at the edge of the bog is where the "Old Loughorne School" once stood.
After the tiring ascent up the Manse Hill, wonderful views of the Mourne Montains can be appreciated and to the left is the "Old Manse" of Donaghmore, which James Harshaw
campaigned so much for to be built. Although so many other buildings are now gone, surely James Harshaw & John Martin would surely rceognise the Manse, if they were ever to walk around their homeland once more.
Leaving the Manse and turning right, the walker once more returns to McCrum's corner.