Categories: EventsFunEating Out

A night in gaol to remember!

Downpatrick Gaol was opened in 1796 and until its closure in 1830, was the holding place for many thousands of prisoners before their transportation to Australia but for us, our evening in gaol was one to remember and we didn’t want to leave! 

We ended up in gaol last night!  Greeted by the stern prison guard, we were led into each cell to spend 10 minutes tasting the local delights of our Mourne, Gullion and Strangford region.  A sweet rich liqueur from Killowen Distillery went down smoothly as an aperitif before we were marched off to our next cell to savour the delightful flavours of Castlescreen Farm.  With a blow of her whistle, the prison guard ordered us into our next cell for a culinary delight of sea trout with crispy seaweed and a wee dram in a can from Two Stacks Brewery.  With no rest for us weary prisoners, we were ordered into another cell where a table was laden with sirloin steak accompanied by an array of locally grown produce such as large onion leaves stuffed with leeks, shin, wild garlic, onion puree and a rich jus drizzled on top.  Staff from Whitewater Brewery served us some lovely refreshing ale to wash it all down.  We met the very talented Paul Cunningham, award winning chef, who came out for a chat and told us how he had skilfully prepared our fine dining.  After all our savoury delights, it was time to sample the crisp and gooey sweetness of Neary Nogs chocolate dessert with a post prandial delight waiting for us in the next cell from the Rademon Distillery

We were chased out of gaol by the prison guard into the Down County Museum courtyard and were greeted with the wonderful sounds of traditional music playing to a buzzing crowd.  Many local traders were selling their wares including freshly made bread, brownies, tray bakes, chocolate treats, cold beer, gin and the air was filled with the mouth-watering smell of barbequing burgers and sausages. 

We went home laden with many treats to share with our family and friends, a truly wonderful experience! 

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Down County Museum
Visitor Centres & Museums
Entrance to Down County Museum, Downpatrick

Down County Museum is located in the old county Gaol of Down. It houses fascinating exhibitions on the history of Down as well as restored cells with life-size figures of prisoners and their gaolers.

Shortcross Gin Discovery & Tour Experience
Brewery/Distillery Tour
Group arrives at Rademon Estate Distillery and is welcomed by their guide

Art, craft and history blend together at Shortcross Distillery, to create an unforgettable experience on the beautiful grounds of Rademon Estate. Join founders Fiona and David to learn about their award-winning gin, which also happens to be Northern Ireland’s first craft gin.

Killowen Distillery Tour & Tasting
Brewery/Distillery Tour
Killowen Distillery Tour & Tasting

Located in the heart of the Mourne Mountains, Killowen Distillery has a ‘Kult’ following and an epic history, due in no small part to its great whiskeys and gins.

NearyNógs Master Craft Chocolate Experience
Food Education & Experiences
A tray full of cocao beans on display at NearyNogs

NearyNogs is a small family-run business that produces some of Northern Ireland’s finest, most irresistible chocolate, and they’re ready to welcome you in and show you how it’s made.

Whitewater Brewery Tours and Tap Room
Brewery/Distillery Tour
Whitewater Brewery Tours and Tap Room

Join us for a look around our brewery, see how we make some of our award winning brews, then head back to the Tap House where you can try some ales and hear some tales.