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Abbeys, Monasteries & Churches

With beautifully constructed abbeys, sculpted monasteries and striking churches, our passion to create and connect with our spirituality has inspired others across the globe.

Northern Ireland has a long and rich Christian heritage which is enshrined in our abbeys, monasteries and churches, while the St. Patrick's Trail will take you on a journey through a host of Christian sites all with strong links to this patron saint. From the more modest to the more impressive, these sites have been able to tell us much about our past way of life. Unique moments of history are often captured in their very walls, spanning many centuries at a time.


Places To Visit

Struell Wells, Downpatrick

Struell Wells was built around a stream flowing through a secluded valley. It was a popular place of pilgrimage from the 1600s until the 1840s.

Bonamargy Friary, Ballycastle

Remains of Franciscan friary founded around 1500 by Rory MacQuillan. East range of cloister, gatehouse and church virtually complete except for roof. Open all year.

Grey Abbey, Greyabbey, Newtownards

Grey Abbey, a Cistercian Abbey church and its living quarters were founded in 1193 by Affreca wife of John de Courcy, the Anglo-Norman invader of East Ulster.

Inch Abbey, Downpatrick

Located on the north bank of the Quoile River, Inch Abbey was founded by John de Courcy in atonement for his destruction of Erenagah Abbey.

Nendrum Monastic Site, Comber, Newtownards

Nendrum is thought to have been set up by St Machaoi in the 5th Century and also has links to St Patrick in later sources. The monastery consists of 3 round dry stone walled enclosures, one within the other.

Devenish Island Monastic Site, Co. Fermanagh, Enniskillen

Famous for its perfect 12th-century round tower and ruined Augustinian abbey, Devenish Monastic Site was founded in the 6th century by Saint Molaise on one of Lough Erne’s many islands.

Dungiven Priory and O'Cahan's Tomb, Dungiven, Londonderry/Derry

Augustinian priory with a 15th-century tomb of Cooey-na-Gall, an O'Cahan chief, who died in 1385.

Free access to priory all year round. East side of Dungiven (A5) reached on foot down a lane passing a wart well and rag tree.

The Priory, Newtownards

At the south east edge of Newtownards these substantial remains of a Dominican (Black) Friary founded in 1244 may be viewed. They are the only ones of their type in Northern Ireland.

Maghera Church And Round Tower, Newcastle

Maghera Church and Round Tower is of major historical importance and is among many important heritage sites throughout County Down.

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