• Historic Walking Tour of Downpatrick
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Downpatrick & County Down Railway

Downpatrick & County Down Railway

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This is Northern Ireland’s only working heritage railway, operating between Downpatrick, Magnus Barefoot’s Grave and Inch Abbey.

The Belfast and County Down Railway served Downpatrick from 1859 until it closed in January 1950.

One of the railway’s lines passes Magnus’ Grave, the reputed burial place of the Viking King, Magnus Barefoot (1073-1103). He was killed here in 1103 while taking cattle to feed the crews of his ships.

Another railway line goes to Inch Abbey, the site of an earlier monastery raided by the Vikings in 1001.

The ruins you see today are of a Cistercian abbey founded in 1180 by John de Courcy. He was an Anglo- Norman knight who conquered parts of Ulster between 1177 and 1204.

The Abbey is one of the earliest buildings constructed in the Gothic style in Ireland. Here the monk Jocelin of Furness wrote a life of St Patrick, including the legend about Patrick banishing snakes from Ireland.

Walk back towards The Saint Patrick Centre and take the path up to the left, through the wooded area on the slope below the Cathedral, called ‘The Grove’.

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