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First Presbyterian (Non Subscribing) Church, Downpatrick

First Presbyterian (Non Subscribing) Church, Downpatrick

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Near the bottom of Stream Street are the gate-pillars, surmounted by garlanded urns, of the First Presbyterian (Non-Subscribing) Church, Downpatrick. It is a T-shaped building built in 1711 and was the first Presbyterian Church in Downpatrick, although there was an earlier Meeting House in the Flying Horse area, to the south of the town. The interior of the church is still 18th century, with box pews and a wooden octagonal pulpit set on a high pedestal.

Continue to the traffic lights at the bottom of the street. Immediately to the left is Pound Lane, where there was formerly a pound, an enclosure for stray animals, in the area of the present car park. The Infirmary above was built here in 1834, and in 1948 became part of the National Health Service as the Downe Hospital, now closed. This was replaced in 2009 by a brand new hospital on the Ardglass Road.

At the traffic lights turn right into St Patrick’s Avenue, which was constructed in 1851 as the Circular Road, to connect Market Street to Stream Street. It was re-named in 1932 to mark the 1,500th anniversary of the arrival of St Patrick at Saul. The low-lying land to the left, where the cinema complex is now located, was prone to flooding until the first half of the 20th century. Before the drainage schemes of about 1745 the land on which you are standing was high water mark for the branch of Strangford Lough which then almost encircled the town.

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