Opened in 1846 during the Famine to facilitate coach and horse traffic to Dublin, thereby avoiding the hill on Irish Street. Market Street is now a busy thoroughfare but before the early 19th century this area was covered by water at every high tide and small vessels were able to land their cargoes here. Severe flooding remained a problem until the mid 20th century.
A local rhyme began ‘The floods are up in Market Street, the station’s like the shore’ - the railway station was across the street on the site of the present Grove Shopping Centre. Market Street is now the main shopping street of the town.
Continuing up Market Street past St Patrick Square, you will see Downpatrick Library on the right, located next to the Grove Shopping Centre. The Heritage Gallery in the library holds a reference collection covering all aspects of life in County Down and includes: historical maps, postcards and photographs, journals, local and regional newspapers on microfilm and a selection of specialised and antiquarian books for family history.
These include street directories, volumes of Griffith’s Valuation, gravestone inscriptions, Ordnance Survey parish memoirs from the 1830s, Ireland’s memorial records and Grand Jury Records of the county administration prior to 1898. The Library staff would be pleased to help you with your enquiries or research.