Top Historic Sights in Downpatrick, United Kingdom

Explore the historic highlights of Downpatrick

St. Patrick's Grave

Outside Down Cathedral on the highest part of Cathedral Hill lies the grave of Saint Patrick, the apostle of Ireland. By the early medieval period Patrick’s grave had become an important site for the developing church and an important monastery had grown around it. At this time the tradition of the hill being the burial place of saints Brigid and Columcille had been added to the legend of Patrick, giving rise to the wel ...
Founded: 5th century AD | Location: Downpatrick, United Kingdom

Down Cathedral

Down Cathedral location is an ancient ecclesiastical site dedicated to the Holy Trinity recorded in the 12th century. In 1124 St Malachy became Bishop of Down, and set about repairing and enlarging the Cathedral. In 1177, Sir John de Courcy (Norman conqueror of Ulster) brought in Benedictine monks and expelled Augustinian monks settled there by St Malachy. De Courcy, who had enraged the king by his seizure of la ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Downpatrick, United Kingdom

Ballynoe Stone Circle

Ballynoe Stone Circle is a large and complex site which appears as a large circle of over 50 closely spaced upright stones, some as much as six feet tall, with some small gaps, surrounding a space about 110 ft across. Two of the fallen stones have cavities which could be artificial cup-marks. The stones of the outer circle are nearly all composed of local Silurian grit, but a few are granite erratics. Two of the stone ...
Founded: 3000 BCE | Location: Downpatrick, United Kingdom

Audley's Castle

Audley"s Castle is a three-storey tower house named after its 16th century owner, John Audley. There are thousands of small stone towers similar to Audley"s Castle in the Irish countryside. They are one of the commonest of archaeological sites, which indicates these were not buildings put up for the higher aristocracy, but for lesser lords and gentry. Most were built in the late Middle Ages (roughly 13 ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Downpatrick, United Kingdom

Inch Abbey

Inch Abbey is a large, ruined monastic site north-west of Downpatrick. The site was originally on an island in the Quoile Marshes. The pre-Norman Celtic monastic settlement here was in existence by the year 800. In 1002 it was plundered by the Vikings. The Vikings plundered the settlement again in 1149. Its large earthwork enclosure has been traced from aerial photographs. On the ground, the early bank and ditch ca ...
Founded: 1180 | Location: Downpatrick, United Kingdom

Quoile Castle

Quoile Castle is a 16th-century tower house, which was inhabited into the 18th century. The south corner of the building has fallen down and shows a cross-section of the castle. In the north east wall the doorway has been rebuilt and gives access to a straight mural stairway. This is protected by murder-holes at the bottom and at the top. The inner doorway at the ground floor opens into a chamber with a stone vault an ...
Founded: 16th century | Location: Downpatrick, United Kingdom

Struell Wells

Of all the wells throughout Ireland dedicated to Saint Patrick, the Struell wells must be the most famous. It is said that Saint Patrick travelled throughout Ireland using wells to baptize his new converts and in some cases to demonstrate the power of God with healing acts or with expressions of powerful piety and dedication. At Struell wells, there is a story of how Patrick used to bathe under a fountain of flowing water ...
Founded: 17th century | Location: Downpatrick, United Kingdom

Annadorn Dolmen

Annadorn dolmen has a large, low, slightly displaced capstone about 65 cm thick covering a rectangular chamber and supported by three stones about 60 cm high. An account of 1802 suggests that it was formerly set beneath a large rectangular cairn 60 ft in diameter and approached by a lintelled passage, so it could be the remains of a passage grave. Another possible explanation could be that the supporting stones were o ...
Founded: Prehistoric | Location: Downpatrick, United Kingdom

Audleystown Court Cairn

Audleystown Court Cairn is a dual court grave situated near the south shore of Strangford Lough. It is a, now roofless, trapezoidal long cairn, with the sides revetted by dry-stone walling almost 27m long and a shallow forecourt at each end opening into a burial gallery of four chambers.  
Founded: Prehistoric | Location: Downpatrick, United Kingdom

Mound of Down

The Mound of Down is an ancient monument which gives County Down its name. Originally the home of Celtair - Rath Celtair - this became a stronghold for the Dál Fiatach, a powerful army who once owned the Isle of Man. It is a good example of an Iron Age defensive earthwork in the middle of which a Norman Motte and Bailey was built by John de Courcy after his defeat of Rory Mac Donlevy in 1177. Originally on the sh ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Downpatrick, United Kingdom

Loughinisland Churches

The Loughinisland Churches are the remains of three ruined churches, dating from the 13th to the 17th centuries. They are situated in Tievenadarragh townland, in a large graveyard on an island in Loughinisland Lake, now reached by a causeway. The earliest recorded reference is to a parish church on the site in 1306. The Middle Church is the oldest, probably from the 13th century. The large North Church was built in t ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Downpatrick, United Kingdom

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Holy Trinity Column

The Holy Trinity Column in Olomouc is a Baroque monument built in 1716–1754 in honour of God. The main purpose was a spectacular celebration of Catholic Church and faith, partly caused by feeling of gratitude for ending a plague, which struck Moravia between 1713 and 1715. The column was also understood to be an expression of local patriotism, since all artists and master craftsmen working on this monument were Olomouc citizens, and almost all depicted saints were connected with the city of Olomouc in some way. The column is the biggest Baroque sculptural group in the Czech Republic. In 2000 it was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list.

The column is dominated by gilded copper sculptures of the Holy Trinity accompanied by the Archangel Gabriel on the top and the Assumption of the Virgin beneath it.

The base of the column, in three levels, is surrounded by 18 more stone sculptures of saints and 14 reliefs in elaborate cartouches. At the uppermost stage are saints connected with Jesus’ earth life – his mother’s parents St. Anne and St. Joachim, his foster-father St. Joseph, and St. John the Baptist, who was preparing his coming – who are accompanied by St. Lawrence and St. Jerome, saints to whom the chapel in the Olomouc town hall was dedicated. Three reliefs represent the Three theological virtues Faith, Hope, and Love.

Below them, the second stage is dedicated to Moravian saints St. Cyril and St. Methodius, who came to Great Moravia to spread Christianity in 863, St. Blaise, in whose name one of the main Olomouc churches is consecrated, and patrons of neighbouring Bohemia St. Adalbert of Prague and St. John of Nepomuk, whose following was very strong there as well.

In the lowest stage one can see the figures of an Austrian patron St. Maurice and a Bohemian patron St. Wenceslas, in whose names two important Olomouc churches were consecrated, another Austrian patron St. Florian, who was also viewed as a protector against various disasters, especially fire, St. John of Capistrano, who used to preach in Olomouc, St. Anthony of Padua, a member of the Franciscan Order, which owned an important monastery in Olomouc, and St. Aloysius Gonzaga, a patron of students. His sculpture showed that Olomouc was very proud of its university. Reliefs of all twelve apostles are placed among these sculptures.

The column also houses a small chapel inside with reliefs depicting Cain's offering from his crop, Abel's offering of firstlings of his flock, Noah's first burnt offering after the Flood, Abraham's offering of Isaac and of a lamb, and Jesus' death. The cities of Jerusalem and Olomouc can be seen in the background of the last mentioned relief.