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Downpatrick Presbyterian Church

Downpatrick Presbyterian Church

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Further along Fountain Street is Downpatrick Presbyterian Church, originally built in 1826 following a split in the Downpatrick congregation. It was rebuilt in 1955 in a Georgian style.

Cross over John Street and go round the lower end of the facing terrace into Mary Street, which used to run straight from John Street to Irish Street before its realignment in 1984/85. The original Mary Street was opened in 1778, the right side being built for Mrs Mary Trotter after whom it was named.

In this area stood the Priory of St John the Baptist, referred to in the 14th century as the Hospital of St John of the English and in 1634 as Cillin Seon, ‘the little church of St John’. In 1728 Mr John Trotter, agent for the Southwell Estate, found vast quantities of human bones here when he was laying out his new garden.

From Mary Street turn left into the upper part of Irish Street. There are particularly interesting Georgian houses here, built on the probable site of a tower house known as Cromwell’s Castle, which belonged to Edward, Baron Cromwell, appointed Governor of Lecale in 1605. This castle was destroyed in the wars of the 1640s but its foundations were discovered when these houses were being built. No. 97 is now Teach Naomh Michil, St Michael’s Parish Centre.

On the opposite side of the street is a group of Georgian buildings (numbers 110-116 Irish Street, and numbers 2-4 Stream Street). No. 114 served as a convent when the Sisters of Mercy first came to Downpatrick in 1855. In the early 1930s No. 116 accommodated the first classes of St Patrick’s High School, now on Saul Street. Behind is the new monastery for the De la Salle brothers, opened in 1961. Opposite is part of the Convent of Mercy, which closed in 2011.

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