Believed to be the burial place of Saint Patrick, the town of Downpatrick in Northern Ireland is a place with a long history. It offers a range of historic heritage, with locally discovered remains going back to prehistoric times.
Downpatrick is a small market town (population around 10,000) and the county town of County Down. It's less than an hour from Belfast, some 33km (21 miles) away, and therefore something of a commuter town as well as a local centre. It hosts a major St Patrick's Day parade on 17 March every year.
From Belfast, take the A24 (Ormeau-Saintfield Road) and follow the signs for Newcastle/Downpatrick. At the Carryduff roundabout, take the A7 for Downpatrick. You will pass through the villages of Saintfield and Crossgar.
From Dublin, on the Belfast road, follow the signs for Newcastle or Castlewellan. From either of these towns then follow the signs for Clough or Downpatrick (the A25). At Clough roundabout take the A25 Downpatrick road.
Regular bus services (twice an hour) from Belfast by Ulsterbus. There are also regular services to surrounding towns such as Ardglass and Newcastle. The bus station is 2 minutes walk from the town centre.
The town is small enough to walk around easily.
There are a number of historic sites in and directly around Downpatrick.
- 1 Down Cathedral, ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Monday - Saturday - 9.30am to 4.00pm. Built on the site of a former Benedictine monastery, which it encompasses, the cathedral is a central landmark in town. Its graveyard is believed to be the final resting place of Saint Patrick. There's a small souvenir shop.
- 2 Down County Museum, The Mall, English Street, ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. Monday to Friday from 10am to 5pm, Saturdays and Sundays from 12 noon to 5pm. Interesting local museum sited close to Down Cathedral Free.
- 3 St Patrick's Centre, ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Everything you ever wanted to know about St Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. Includes a good cafe and gift shop. Just off the town centre with large carpark nearby.
Close to town
- 4 Inch Abbey, Inch Abbey Road. Only ruins remain of this ancient abbey, which goes back to before AD 800. The remains that you'll see now are from the 12th century Cistercian Abbey on this location along the river Quoile.
- 5 Ballynoe Stone Circle. An impressive stone circle just a few kilometres from town, consisting of some 50 upright stones, placed closely together.
- 6 Struell Wells, off the Struell Wells Road. Struell Wells features a set of four holy wells, 2.4km east of Downpatrick. The wells date from before the time of Saint Patrick.
- 1 Downpatrick & County Down Railway, Market Street, ✉ email@example.com. Operational heritage railway. Train rides on most weekends. Large carpark nearby.
- 2 Down Arts Centre, Irish Street, ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Music, drama and exhibitions.
- 3 Downpatrick Racecourse, 24 Ballydugan Road, Downpatrick, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Regular race meetings
- 4 St Patrick's Golf Club, 43 Saul Road, Downpatrick, ☏ . 18-hole golf course, pro shop and restaurant
Mostly local shops, with a smattering of big brand names.
The Grove Shopping Centre, Market Street, is in the town centre and includes shops such as Poundland.
Downpatrick Retail Park, Ballydugan Road, is slightly out of the town centre and includes an Asda supermarket and petrol station, and a range of other shops including Halfords and Argos.
There are a small number of cafes in the town. Most of the pubs also serve food.
- 1 The Daily Grind, 20 St Patrick's Avenue, Downpatrick, ☏ . Upstairs. Good for lunches and sandwiches
- 2 Oakley Fayre Cafe and Deli, 52 Market Street, Downpatrick, ☏ . Bakery shop and cafe
- 3 Golden Dragon, 21 Scotch Street, Downpatrick, ☏ . Great Chinese food, but takeaway only.
- 4 The Emperor, 13 Church Street, Downpatrick, ☏ . Chinese restaurant, sit-in and takeaway
There are a large selection of pubs, at least one on every street in the town centre. Most of the pubs also serve food and some host music sessions.
- 1 Mullans Bar, 48 Church Street, Downpatrick, ☏ . Popular pub, often with music (also known as Speedy's)
- 2 Mirabelle Bar, 28 Market Street, Downpatrick, ☏ . Little pub squeezed between shops and a delicatessan
- 3 Avenue Bar, 18 St Patrick's Avenue, Downpatrick, ☏ .
- 4 Brendans Bar & Restaurant, 94 Market Street, Downpatrick, ☏ . Drink and reasonable food
There is only one small hotel in the town and a small number of bed and breakfast or guest houses.
- 1 Denvir's Hotel, English Street, ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Small hotel with six bedrooms. Established as a coaching inn in 1642. Also has a pub and restaurant.
Locally published newspapers include:
- 1 Down Recorder, Church Street, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Weekly newspaper established in 1836 and still going strong.
- Down News, Down Business Centre, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Local internet newspaper