Downpatrick, Co. Down
The historic town of Downpatrick illustrates the North’s history of architecture in the centre of the town, with a wide Georgian mall that leads past the Down County museum and up to Down Cathedral.
St Patrick’s grave is marked by a block of Mourne granite in the graveyard of the cathedral. The Saint Patrick centre (0044 28 44 619 000) is an informative exhibition which tells the story of Ireland’s patron saint, housed in a new building which gives close access to St Patrick’s grave and the Cathedral.
The Castle Ward National Trust estate (0044 28 44 881 204) is nearby, where visitors can enjoy a guided tour of the magnificent Georgian mansion, with an ornamental lake, a temple, a lovely demesne and wildlife centre which houses an exhibition on Strangford Lough. The Castle Ward estate offers beautiful walks and after visiting the estate once, it will be soon become a firm favourite.
Inch Abbey is worth a visit, a ruined Norman foundation, situated on the edge of the Quoile River. Quoile Pondage is a fresh water nature reserve with a visitor centre next to the ruined 17th Century castle.