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 lands in Ireland beyond what he was granted, was taken prison there on Good Friday 1204. According to the account, the unarmed de Courcy managed to take a weapon from one of his attackers and killed 13 men before being overpowered and taken prisoner.

By 1220, this building was in ruins and was further damaged by an earthquake in 1245. The Cathedral was burned down by Edward Bruce in 1315 and subsequently rebuilt and destroyed several times. In 1538 the monastery was suppressed and then destroyed in 1539 by Lord Leonard Grey, the Lord Deputy of Ireland, who stabled horses there. The destruction of the Cathedral was one of the charges for which Grey was executed in 1541. For two centuries after that it lay in ruins. In 1778 John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, visited and described it as a noble ruin. A Round Tower close to the Cathedral was taken down in 1790.

The cathedral incorporates parts of the 13th-century church of the Benedictine Abbey of Down.

The restoration of the ruined 14th century cathedral of Downpatrick was initiated after an Act of Parliament of 1790. The long chancel from the late medieval cathedral was repaired and transformed into an aisled nave and chancel for the new cathedral. Charles Lilly directed the restoration, but it was so drastic that many details of the original building disappeared, as he aimed at reproducing an overall medieval effect. Work was completed and the cathedral was ready for use in 1818. An octagonal vestibule and a Perpendicular Gothic tower were added to the west end in 1826.

Crosses from the 9th, 10th and 12th centuries are preserved in the Cathedral. The building today is mainly the original chancel from the 15th century with a vestibule and tower added. It had a second major restoration from 1985 to 1987 during which time the Cathedral was closed.

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Founded: 12th century
Category: Religious sites in United Kingdom

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en.wikipedia.org

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User Reviews

Louis Sypher (2 years ago)
Amazing situation.. Sun shining.. Mountains of Morne in background.. Not a ginger wig or pint of Guinness to be seen. Real St Patrick.
CLARYT E.McGreevy (2 years ago)
Nice place to visit if you like to explore cathedrals, and of course, St.patricks supposed grave site a short distance away
Denise Shaw (2 years ago)
Lovely - near me he grave of St Patrick
Kathleen Cleveland (2 years ago)
We visited on St Patricks Day. It was lovely to see his stone and the church itself is beautiful.
Kevin Byers (2 years ago)
Lovely historic building with stunning views across to the Mournes, St. Patrick's grave (allegedly!) Some beautiful stained glass windows inside and very helpful and enthusiastic guides in hand. There is also a nice little gift shop. Free entrance although restricted to non religious service times for obvious reasons. Parking is very limited and with the museum nearby it is not always easy to park.
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