Down Cathedral

Welcome to the Cathedral, close to which we believe the mortal remains of Saint Patrick lie buried, not merely a tourist attraction but a place of pilgrimage and prayer for all people.

About this church

In the early 12th century an Augustinian House was established here. In 1183 John De Courcy invited Benedictine monks from St Wenburghs in Chester to come and establish a monastery here. Parts of this present building were part of that original monastery. With the dissolution of the monasteries in 1538 the monks left and the building gradually fell into ruin. In 1609 James I granted a Charter to establish a Dean and Chapter here and although still a ruined site, bishops were consecrated within the walls.

Towards the end of the 18th century Dean Annesley, along with Willis Hill (of Hillsborough) and many of the notable families of County Down raised funds to completely restore this building. Over the years, there have been many periods when the Chapter Book records that the Cathedral was closed for repairs. But none was as far reaching as the recent renovations which took place in 1986/7. Attacks of rot were so extensive that the Cathedral Board, acting on professional advice decided to remove almost the entire interior plaster walls and vaulting.

What the visitor sees now is an almost entirely new interior, a replica of that which it replaced.

Key Features

  • Captivating architecture
  • Spectacular stained glass
  • Magnificent memorials
  • Glorious furnishings
  • Enchanting atmosphere
  • Fascinating churchyard
  • Social heritage stories
  • National heritage here

Visitors information

  • Bus stop within 100m
  • Train station within 250m
  • Level access to the main areas
  • On street parking at church
  • Parking within 250m
  • Accessible toilets in church
  • Non-accessible toilets in church
  • Accessible toilets nearby
  • Café in church
  • Café within 500m
  • Dog friendly
  • Walkers & cyclists welcome
  • Space to secure your bike
  • Church shop or souvenirs

Other nearby churches

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Grey Abbey

Along with Inch Abbey, Greyabbey is the best example of Anglo-Norman Cistercian architecture in Ulster and was the daughter house of Holm Cultram in Cumbria.

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