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Walk Saint Patrick's Way

Saint Patrick's Square, Market Street, Downpatrick, County Down, BT30 6LZ
Walk Saint Patrick's Way

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Saint Patrick’s Way is a “Camino” style 27km (17 mile) Pilgrim’s Walk in Downpatrick organised by St Patrick Centre, the only permanent exhibition in the world dedicated to Ireland’s patron saint.

Our Guides Martina Purdy, former BBC political correspondent, and former barrister, Elaine Kelly have scouted a path for pilgrims that is steeped in spirituality, history and beauty. The pair were Adoration Sisters for five years before having to leave last year when their convent closed due to falling numbers. They have a unique take on Patrick’s Christian mission and journey in Downpatrick, the place where the former slave built his first church in Ireland.

Downpatrick, which means Patrick’s stronghold, is rich in sites linked to the saint including his well and chair at Struell, his grave on Cathedral Hill and the largest monument to the saint in the world at Slieve Patrick. The pilgrimage also takes in St Patrick’s RC Church, Saul where an altar stone used by the saint is preserved, and St Patrick’s RC Church, Downpatrick, home to a modern mosaic depicting scenes from the saint’s life.

While practising safe social distancing, walkers on the Way learn bout the legacy of St Patrick who returned to Ireland as a bishop in 432, having been enslaved on the island for six years as a youth.

Pilgrims who are especially fit and experienced walkers can choose to do the entire 27km (17mile) walk in Downpatrick in a single day but it’s recommended that walkers opt for either the morning 9.5 km (6 mile) walk or the afternoon 17 km (11 mile) Way. An Irish language option is available on Sundays led by Irish language enthusiast Jean O’Neill.

The first stop on the 17 mile plilgrimage is the 1,000 year old ruin of Inch Abbey, built by Anglo-Norman conquerer, John de Courcy. It is where the monk Jocelyn wrote about St Patrick banishing snakes from Ireland.

Pilgrims then walk along the Quoile River before walking up Saul Hill to Saul Church, the site where St Patrick died in 461AD. The saint’s national monument at Slieve Patrick offers stunning views of Strangford Lough, and the Mournes. The walk stretches along the way of tranquillity, a country path, to Struell Wells, a pre-Christian site where pilgrims have travelled for centuries to visit St Patrick’s well.

Every Saturday our Guides walk 8 miles of Saint Patrick’s Way into Newcastle from the Mournes through Tollymore Forest Park. This experience begins with Brunch in the Harbour House Newcastle, including transport to Trassey Road and a spectacular riverside and mountain walk, before finishing with ice-cream at the Sea Front.

Full Day - £50, Half Day - £35, 2 Half Days - £60

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  • Prior Booking Required

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  • All major credit/debit cards accepted

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What's Nearby

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