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Counties of Ireland - Down


Coat of arms for county Down

Coat of arms for County Down

Mountainous, coastal Co. Down was named for its county town, Downpatrick. Downpatrick, meanwhile, was named for its most famous resident, St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. Patrick is purportedly buried in the cemetery at Down Cathedral, a 14th century spired cathedral that overlooks the town from atop Cathedral Hill. It is believed the saint said his first mass at the humble Saul Church in Saul, east of Downpatrick, and eventually died there on March 17, 461, which is why St. Patrick's Day is now celebrated each March 17.

Beyond these very historic sites, a visit to Co. Down is all about its immense array of natural surroundings. The greatest of these are the Mourne Mountains, which spread across the southeast portion of the county, from Carlingford Lough to Dundrum Bay, and culminating in the highest point in Northern Ireland atop Slieve Donard, a whopping 849 metres up.

The Mournes have been proposed as the first National Park in Northern Ireland, and walking through the craggy, granite hillsides, you might encounter the lonely Mourne Wall, a 35-km long stone wall built around the turn of the 20th century to define the local catchment area.

Strangford Lough is another place of incredible natural beauty in Co. Down, being a popular place for both birding and scuba diving. The Mount Stewart House and Gardens is a beautiful 18th century, neoclassical manor estate situated on the eastern shore of the lake.

Co. Down is generally regarded as a G.A.A. county, with particularly a particularly strong Gaelic football team, which has one All-Ireland Championships, as well as dozens of other titles.

The Brontë family has roots in Co. Down, as Patrick Brontë – father to British writers Anne, Charlotte and Emily – emigrated from his homeland near Rathfriland and changed his surname from Brunty to Brontë. Artist John Butler Yeats was also from Co. Down, and golf prodigy Rory McIlroy is from Carryduff.

Rosstrevor Co. Down

Rosstrevor Co. Down

St. Patrick's Grave, Co Down

St.Patrick's Grave, Co Down

The Town Hall, Co. Down

The Town Hall designed by William Batt, was constructed in 1893. The most unusual feature about the building is that it is built on a three arched bridge astride the Clanrye River.

Castle Wellan, Co Down

Castle Wellan, Co. Down

the Mourne Mountains in Co Down

An area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Mourne Mountains in Co Down were the inspiration for the writer CS Lewis's ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’. Slieve Donard is the highest peak in Ulster.

Other Counties in Ulster



#1 by Steve Hutchinson
County Down and County Antrim had settlers from Scotland residing there hundreds of years ago, that is why there is a strong Ulster-Scots influence there. There is also a Spanish influence starting from Co. Antrim where a Spanish galleon called the Gerona was shipwrecked limping home from the remnants of the Spanish Armada. The Gerona was full of Spanish notability and had a considerable amount of treasure which can still be seen at the Ulster Museum in Belfast. Before any "purists" start thinking about the Scots and other people invading Ireland, it is worth noting, that the old Irish inhabitants first invaded England (the part that is now Wales), this fact was discovered by Fergal Keane in Trinity College Dublin when he was making a documentary about the history of Ireland. There are far to many political people in Ireland, North and South that bang on about England invading Ireland, but the problem is, some people will only go back in history as far as the want to suit their social beliefs, one needs to go back as far as possible to completely understand the Irish as a whole. Ireland was the center of excellence in Europe, if not the world, people from all around the world were taught here, you just have to look at the Book of Kells to understand this. I have had the privilege of serving in the Irish Guards, the only British Army that recruits form the North and South of Ireland,where men from both sides of the political divide join and become very close friends, even long after their service. The vast majority of people living in Northern Ireland want to live in peace, unfortunately, there are some idiots on either side who think they can return to the old way, but they are wasting their time, the people in the North have experienced peace and they do not want to go back to the dark old days. There is never going to be a "united Ireland", for one, the majority of the people do not want it, which has been proven by a couple of referendums,and another, there is too much money to be made,i.e. when some political parties who are very anti British, even being elected members of Parliament. they do not take their seat at the houses of Parliament in London, but, are not a bit backward in taking as much money from Britain as they can. This is the way of the Irish, North and South.

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News from Down

6th March 17:13

Down man to stand trial over murder of two women

A Co Down man is to stand trial for the murders of two women but charges involving a third death will not proceed.

17th March 15:30

Review into IT system failures at Galway hospitals

The HSE's Saolta University Health Care Group has said efforts are continuing to fully restore computer systems at public hospitals in Galway, following a breakdown in the IT infrastructure.

18th March 12:58

Woman 'crying in graveyard' day O'Hara disappeared

A witness for the defence in the trial of Graham Dwyer for the murder of Elaine O'Hara told the Central Criminal Court that she saw a woman lying face down and crying near a grave in Shanganagh Cemetery on the evening Ms O'Hara disappeared.