After our lovely Wicklow break we drove north to spend some time with my friends and family. Always nice to catch up, we always try to visit somewhere new as well. This trip was no different. I can’t really remember ever being in Downpatrick Co Down so decided to recitify that. Having read about their visitor centre which focuses on the life and times of St Patrick, I thought it would be interesting and worth a visit – it was.
The centre is ultra modern and right in the middle of the little town. They use multi-media, lots of technology and a film right at the end to tell the story of the life of St Patrick. The building was purpose built and is the only permanent exhibition in the world about Ireland’s patron saint.
Surprised to find we were the only people inside, we paid our entrance fee and were shown how the tour would run. Self guided, you pass through different areas and the story of Patrick is told in different ways. All very effective and interesting too with artefacts here and there to look at.
We started with an exploration of Patrick’s background and the world of Celtic Ireland to which he would come. Patrick introduced himself through his writings – the first words ever written in Ireland.
Our tour finished with a “helicopter” ride around Ireland via a huge cinema screen, it took us to all the places associated with Patrick. Son and I loved it, Husband was queasy and more than a bit green around the gills but it was a great way to end things.
A peek in the gift shop then we headed out.
Downpatrick is one of Ireland’s most historic and ancient towns. It takes its name from a fort which once stood on the hill that dominates the town and on which Down Cathedral now stands. We didn’t find too much of interest in the town itself, but walked up the hill to check out the cathedral.
St Patrick started his mission here in 432 AD and when he died he was buried on what his now Cathedral Hill. We found his grave before leaving.