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Things to do in Downpatrick

Top recommendations from locals

From sightseeing to hidden gems, find out what makes the city unique with the help of the locals who know it best.
Place of worship
“Learn all about Saint Patrick and his role in Downpatrick and surrounding areas.”
  • 8 locals recommend
Cinema
“15-20 minutes drive away. Great for a rainy day. High Resolution 4k Screens”
  • 1 local recommends
Museum
“Located in the restored buildings of the eighteenth century County Gaol of Down, Down County Museum started life in 1981 and collects, documents, conserves and exhibits artefacts relating to the archaeology, history and culture of County Down from earliest times until today. The Museum holds 12,000 objects and 50,000 photographs relating to County Down. Downpatrick Gaol was opened in 1796 and until its closure in 1830 housed many thousands of prisoners. In addition to incarcerating many people for very minor offences, the gaol held 1798 rebels captured after the battles of Saintfield and Ballynahinch and the United Irishman, Thomas Russell, executed for his role in the abortive rebellion of 1803. The gaol was also a convict gaol and many hundreds of transportees were imprisoned here prior to their journey to the convict colonies of New South Wales. You can find details of some of the prisoners on the Museum website. Now visitors to the site can see the conditions in which the prisoners were kept, visit restored cells complete with displays on individual prisoners, and stroll through the gaol courtyards which today are likely to be the scene of lively events and re-enactments at weekends and seasonal festivals. The Museum’s permanent exhibitions include ‘Down Through Time’ in the Governor’s Residence, which displays over 1,100 objects on the diverse history of the County from 9,000 years ago, newly opened displays on the Downpatrick High Cross, farming and fishing in the County and the story of the Gaol’s prisoners. A programme of temporary exhibitions includes displays of art, crafts, social history, political history and archaeology of the region, drawn from the museum’s own collections and on loan from other organisations. The Museum’s Cathedral View Tearoom provides coffee, teas, snacks and lunches, and has a panoramic view of the County Down landscape, including Down Cathedral, the River Quoile, Inch Abbey and the Mound of Down fort. ”
  • 2 locals recommend
Point of Interest
  • 1 local recommends
Church
“Located on a hill surrounded by water and trees, the site of Down Cathedral was an important location for Celtic worship for thousands of years before Saint Patrick brought Christianity to Ireland. Following the Saint’s death and burial on this elevated location, a small monastic community grew up around St Patrick’s grave, which was first recorded in 753 AD. The stone church and round tower of this monastery was noted in the Annals as being burned by lightening in 1016. The medieval Cathedral which we see today traces its origins to the Invasion of Ulster, when the Norman Knight John de Courcy ousted Rory MacDunleavy, the last King of the Dal Fiatach, and established a Benedictine order there in 1177. After a turbulent start, and despite being burned by the likes of Edward the Bruce in 1316, the ‘House of St Patrick” flourished until the suppression of the monasteries in 1541, when it became a ruin. Although successive Anglican deans continued to be installed within the ruined walls, there were no funds to rebuild the Cathedral until 1790 when the first Marquis of Downshire and Dean Annesley, provided the impetus to commence the restoration – a project which even attracted a gift of £1,000 from King George 111. Down Cathedral now boasts one of the finest pipe organs in the British Isles, impressive Mayer of Munich stained glass windows and continues to welcome people of all faiths and traditions to one of the most important spiritual sites in Ireland. ”
  • 2 locals recommend
Point of Interest
  • 2 locals recommend
Lodging
  • 1 local recommends
Cemetery
“In the Cathedral grounds is the reputed burial place of St Patrick, thought to have died in 461.”
  • 2 locals recommend
Store
“Naturally crafted out of the historic drumlins of Co. Down, St. Patrick’s Golf Club, Downpatrick is a classic and challenging parkland course. It boasts spectacular views of the Mourne Mountains, Strangford Lough and the Isle of Man. ”
  • 1 local recommends
Administrative Area Level 2
“Doorway to the kingdom of Mourne. Hill walks, mountaineering, climbing, beaches. ”
  • 1 local recommends
Bus Station
“The main bus station in Downpatrick, which connects you to Newcastle, Belfast, etc. ”
  • 1 local recommends
Locality
“The story of Christianity in Ireland begins in the 5th century in the coastal landscape of Lecale and it’s ancient capital Downpatrick. ”
  • 8 locals recommend
Point of Interest
Beauty Salon
“If you're looking for a manicure, pedicure or massage, this is the place to go!”
  • 1 local recommends
Point of Interest
Gym
“Post Office service available here - withdraw cash, send post domestically and internationally, etc.”
  • 1 local recommends