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Saint Patrick & the pagan hills

Lough Money Car Park, Ballyculter Road, Ballyalton, Downpatrick, County Down, BT30 7BL
Walking group in the Lecale hills

About

Discover the place where Saint Patrick changed the story of Ireland forever. 17 March is the big day and it might get you thinking just who was he? Well join local storyteller, Duane Fitzsimons and get to hear about the heart of that mystery.

This is the place he calls home but it is no ordinary place though, as you will discover. Journey through one of Ireland's most ancient landscapes on a path of discovery from Celtic to Christianity in the home of Saint Patrick. Starting from the shore of Lough Money in an area of awe-inspiring beauty, Duane takes you along old and ancient lanes which Patrick would have roamed on a route dotted with Neolithic reminders from the Pagan era. The experience includes the stunning vista of Strangford Lough with a locally sourced picnic.

Following the trails along the Lough we ramble along the Lecale Way to Raholp. Continuing on the trail we follow cross country trails to the River Slaney. These are part of the areas most ancient public rights of way made up of green paths surrounded by old hedgerows. Along the Way you will see Neolithic monuments and hear ancient tales. Duane will also provide the loan of a traditional walking pole.

Following in the footsteps of both saint and pagan we explore the landscape that Patrick himself encountered when he returned to Ireland nearly 1600 years ago. It takes in the Shores of Strangford Lough where Patrick was greeted by Dichu, his first convert who gave him the Barn for his first church. As the water washes ashore this is the spot where we will have our lunch.

The walk continues to Saint Tassach's Church, one of the oldest buildings in all of Lecale. The present ruins date back to the 10th Century. This was the church of Patrick's metal worker, the man who made him his bell, crozier, crosses and chalices. The walk will culminate here and a coach will return the group back to Downpatrick.

The group will meet at Lough Money Car Park. The lunch will be a picnic provided by Ciara from Margaret's Cottage. It will include a mix of sandwiches, fruit and drinks. In addition to this Ciara will be making her delicious Millionaire's Shortbread.
General health and safety for walking
- Sturdy waterproof walking boots are advised.
- A small backpack for your personal drinks and snacks.
- A waterproof coat and long trousers should be worn due to the nature of vegetation on some of the trails.
- The total length of the walk will be just over 6 miles.

Inclusions:
- Fully guided 4 hour walk
- Picnic lunch

Facilities

Establishment Features

  • Accommodation nearby

Guide Prices

Ticket TypeTicket Tariff
Ticket£25.00 per ticket

Please contact the organiser for any further information that's required.

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Map & Directions

Road Directions

From Downpatrick, take the B1 towards Ardglass. Stay left at the Downshire Hospital just outside the town towards Ballyalton and Ballyhornan. After Ballyalton, fork left off the Ballyhornan Road for 0.49 miles to the lough.

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