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Downpatrick Cathedral.

Co Down.

Downpatrick is the county town of Down, excavations have unearthed evidence of early Bronze Age round houses, later Bronze Age occupation has been recognized on the Cathedral Hill. At that time Strangford Lough would have flowed around the cathedral hill. It is thought that the Lough and the

Quoile River would have flooded right up to Loughinisland but the building of the Quoile barrier in the 1950's ended that although Downpatrick still continues to flood regularly in periods of heavy rain.

The southern part of Downpatrick being built on the flood plain of the Quoile river the council offices Rathkeltair House and Safeways/ Morrisons being built on the marshland formally known as The Lough of Down. Legend has it that the Vikings sailed round the Cathedral Hill when the came to Down.


The Cathedral in Downpatrick is reputed to be the burial place of St. Patrick, also supposedly buried there are St Bridged and St Columba.

The Cathedral in Downpatrick incorporates parts of the 13th century church of the Benedictine Abbey of Down (Blacks Monks). Two small crosses now built into the wall of Down Cathedral seem to be 12th century work. They are carved with ecclesiastics with books, similar to 12th century crosses found in Counties Clare, Tipperary and Galway. The cathedral stood roof less and derelict for many years until it was remodeled in 1798-1812 by Charles Lilly of Dublin. Downpatrick was the site of several religious houses, as well as the seat of the Bishop.

Chronology of the Cathedral.

432 Arrival of Patrick
461 Death of Patrick
753 Death of Scannlan. (First recorded Abbot.)
824 The monasteries of Down and amp; Movilla were raided by the Vikings.
1016 A stone church and round tower burned by lightening.
1137 Malachy founds the Augustinian Friary at Downpatrick.
1148 Death of Malachy First recorded Bishop.
1177 Arrival of John de Courcy
1183 Founding of Benedictine Monastery dedicated to St Patrick.
1220 Monks petition Henry III about their Cathedral.
1316 Cathedral plundered by Edward Bruce.
1541 Suppression and dissolution of the Monasteries by Henry VIII.
1690 Grant of charter to Cathedral
1790 Restoration of the cathedral begins.
1818 Cathedral consecrated
1870 Die-establishment of with consequent loss of endowment.
1958 Revival of St Patrick's day parade.
1986/7 Complete restoration.