DOWN CATHEDRAL AND SAINT PATRICKS GRAVE.
The Cathedral Church of the Holy and Undivided Trinity, is a Church of Ireland cathedral located in the town of Downpatrick in Northern Ireland.
It stands on Cathedral Hill overlooking the town and is one of two cathedrals in the Diocese of Down and Dromore. The other is Dromore Cathedral.
Down cathedral is the centre point of Downpatrick a relatively new name for the settlement having only come into usage in the seventeenth century.
The annals record that St Fergus was the first bishop of Down and there are good historical reasons to connect him, from about the end of the sixth century, to the broad area of mid-Down.
Although not as ancient or carrying such well-attested historical importance as nearby Bangor Abbey, there is little doubt that in the period of the Celtic church, when monasticism was such a hallmark of Christian settlements, that a community of monks lived on – or near – the hill overlooking the river Quoile.
These would have been wooden buildings and only by tenth century would stone built buildings have existed, in part due to developing technology. The annals record various attacks, not all of which were successful, on the community at Down in the early eleventh century.
The Cathedral is dedicated to the Holy Trinity, a dedication first recorded in the 12th century.
In 1124 Saint Malachy became Bishop of Down, and set about repairing and enlarging the cathedral. In 1177, Sir John de Courcy (Norman conqueror of Ulster) brought in Benedictine monks and expelled the older monastic community.
Saint Patricks grave can be found in the cathedral grounds.
Tourists are most welcome to visit the Cathedral during opening hours. Admission is free. Donations are encouraged to help with the upkeep of the building.
Guided tours are available to groups of any size for a small charge per person.
Smaller groups are welcome any time but large groups and coach tours must be booked in advance.