Sat, 12 Mar|
The Saint Patrick Centre
Patrick & the pagan hills
A walk to the place that Saint Patrick landed on Strangford Lough
Time & Location
12 Mar 2022, 10:00 – 16:00
The Saint Patrick Centre, 53A Market Street, Downpatrick, BT30 6LZ
About The Event
Walking with Duane Fitzsimons, local historian, tour guide and storyteller. This is the place he calls home but it is no ordinary place though, it is the Home of Saint Patrick. Journey through one of Ireland’s most ancient landscapes on a path of discovery from Celtic to Christianity in the home of Saint Patrick. Starting from the shore of Lough Money in an area of awe-inspiring beauty, Duane takes you along old and ancient lanes which Patrick would have roamed on a route dotted with Neolithic reminders from the Pagan era. The experience includes the stunning vista of Strangford Lough with a locally sourced picnic and an interactive re-enactment of the arrival of Saint Patrick into Ireland and his first conversion to Christianity.
Following the trails along the Lough we ramble along the Lecale Way to Raholp. Continuing on the trail we follow cross country trails to the River Slaney. These are part of the areas most ancient public rights of way made up of green paths surrounded by old hedgerows. Along the Way you will see Neolithic monuments and hear ancient tales. Duane will also provide the loan of a traditional walking pole.
Following in the footsteps of both saint and pagan we explore the landscape that Patrick himself encountered when he returned to Ireland nearly 1600 years ago. It takes in the Shores of Strangford Lough where Patrick was greeted by Dichu, his first convert who gave him the Barn for his first church. As the water washes ashore this is the spot where we will have our lunch.
The walk continues to Saint Tassach's Church, one of the oldest buildings in all of Lecale. The present ruins date back to the 10th Century. This was the church of Patrick's metal worker, the man who made him his bell, crozier, crosses and chalices. The walk will culminate here and a coach will return the group back to Downpatrick.
The group will meet at The Saint Patrick Centre. After a short briefing in the auditorium, a coach will transfer the group to the walk start point. The lunch will be a picnic provided by Ciara from Margaret's Cottage. It will include a mix of sandwiches, fruit and drinks. In addition to this Ciara will be making her delicious Millionaire's Shortbread. After completing the walk a coach will transfer the group back to Downpatrick.
Your wellbeing, health and safety
To reduce the risk to participants there will be a limit of 15 attendees on this walk.
In order to comply with the current restrictions on public gatherings in public spaces the following measures will be in place.
- A face mask/ covering is required for wearing in enclosed spaces and during transfer to the site. It is not required that you wear a face covering during the walk but you may do so if you wish.
- It will be required at all times that a safe distance of 2 metres.
- Hand sanitizer will be available during the walk as there will be a requirement to touch gates and stiles.
General health and safety for walking
- Sturdy waterproof walking boots are advised.
- A small backpack for your personal drinks and snacks.
- A waterproof coat and long trousers should be worn due to the nature of vegetation on some of the trails.
- The total length of the walk will be just over 6 miles.
Includes lunch and coach transfers