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Coney Island, Lough NeaghDown Cathedral, County Down

Did You Know Facts...

  • Norman Gravestones from County Down dating to the 13th century were carved from blocks of Scrabo sandstone. You can see some in Down County Museum.
  • Churches including the placename element "Temple" were probably built after the Norman conquest of south-east Ulster by John de Courcy in 1177.
  • The Audley family came to Lecale in the 1200s, probably build Audley's Castle in the 1400s and were still living there in the 1600s.
  • The tide mill that archaeologists found at Nendrum is the earliest known in the world and it has been dated to AD619 by dendrochronology (tree-ring dating).
  • Down County Museum was originally a gaol between 1796 and 1830 and was soon afterwards in use as the barracks of South Down Militia.
  • The monk Jocelin of Furness is believed to have been the first to write down the story about St. Patrick banishing snakes and serpents from Ireland at Inch Abbey.
  • St. Patrick founded his first church in a barn at Saul in AD432.
  • You can see some of the carved stones and flints from Millin Bay Neolithic Cairn at Down County Museum.
  • Armagh Public Library is a unique library in that books are filed in accordance to size.
  • Saint Patrick's Church of Ireland Cathedral, Armagh, is built on the site of Saint Patrick’s first stone church, on a hill known as Druim Saileach (Sallow Ridge).
  • Armagh County Museum is the oldest County Museum in Ireland.
  • Saint Patrick’s Roman Catholic Cathedral, Armagh, is built on a site known as Tealach na licci (Sandy Hill) where legend has it that Saint Patrick brought a young deer for sanctuary.
  • Armagh Public Library has an inscription over the public entrance in Greek which means "the healing place of the soul".
  • Bagenal's Castle is the only known surviving castle in Ireland for which the original drawings dated (c. 1568) survive.
  • According to legend Saint Patrick had been travelling with his followers in the vicinity of Bangor Abbey when a vision appeared to them. He named what we know as Bangor "the valley of the angels".
  • The Antiphonary of Bangor was carried to Bobbio in Italy after Columbanus died in 615 AD.
  • The site of Down Cathedral has been a place of Christian prayer and worship since time of Saint Patrick in the 5th Century. It is one of the holiest Christian sites in Ireland. It was a tradition that emigrants leaving Ireland took a handful of "old sod" from Saint Patrick’s grave to remind them of home.
  • Grey Abbey was founded in 1193 by Affrecca daughter of the King of the Isle of Man and wife of John de courcy.
  • It was at Inch Abbey that John de Courcy commissioned a monk called Jocelin to write "A life of Saint Patrick".
  • At Saul, Patrick plucked a shamrock from fertile soil and explained the holy trinity using its three leaves.
  • Saint Patrick’s Stone, Coney Island – Traditionally seen as a spot where Saint Patrick rested when he visited the island in 5th Century AD.
  • Saint Bronach’s bell on display in Rostrevor – local folklore states that if you pray to Saint Bronagh and ring the bell three times your prayer is sure to be answered.
  • Saint Monnina (or Darerca) founded on of Irelands best known early medieval convents at Killevy.
  • According to tradition Monnina was baptised and confirmed by Saint Patrick. A large stone to the north of Killevy graveyard is said to mark her burial place.
  • At Nendrum Monastic Site there are remains of a monastery of Saint Machaoi a contemporary of Saint Patrick.
  • The ruin of Movilla is long and narrow and built into the North Wall is Northern Ireland's best collection of 13th century coffin lids with foliate crosses.
  • Seagoe – The "Seagoe Bell" dated around 904 AD was used or many years during funeral services at Seagoe – It is now in the Dublin Museum.
  • Saul Church was first ecclestical site of Patrick’s mission to the gael – Saul means barn!
  • Armagh Franciscan Friary – founded by Archbishop O’Scannail in 1263/64 this friary would have been the longest monastery in Ireland.

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