Legends of the rocky ledge
Get off the beaten track and explore the myths of Sheepland, a landscape rich in folklore and associations with Saint Patrick. You will learn about the areas rich folklore; hear tales of Vikings, shipwreck and smuggling.
Beginning in Chapeltown we unlock the history of this unique corner of Ireland. The church is home to several artefacts from the time when this was a centre of pilgrimage. It is home to the oldest stone statue of the Madonna and child in Ireland, recovered in 1908. Leaving Chapeltown the walk goes into Sheepland, a mystical area, full of folklore. Having written the history of the area, Duane's knowledge opens up the landscape and its heritage for you.
Before long the walk emerges on the Steersman's Pad. The cliffs are formed of silurian bedrock which has been folded and distorted over the last 400 million of years. One of the ships which foundered on this rugged coast was l'Amitie in April 1797. The sole survivor gives the clifftop walk its name. He spent each day walking the clifftop looking down on the wrecksite while he recuperated.
After learning about the smuggling in Sheepland harbour we arrive at a well created by Saint Patrick. This ancient spring has its own folklore and traditions. Depending on the tide, we may have the opportunity to walk on the mystical feature known as Saint Patrick's Road! The legend goes that this was to take him to the Isle of Man. Overlooking the site is the ruin of Ardtole Church which was an inspiration to Jonathan Swift in Gulliver's Travels.
No tour of this area would be complete without a local dish. Curran's Bar offers a fantastic selection of local food. The dish to round of the tour is the signature seafood chowder.
The walk is 4 miles and circular, returning to the start point.
Terrain can be uneven in places. Waterproof and sensible walking shoes are advised.
The route will use quiet public highways, laneways, and open grassland (there may be roaming livestock).
The tour lasts 2.5 hours, lunch is served afterwards.
The Meeting Point
83 Strangford Road
Due to the limited size of the car park at Curran's Bar it is requested that the car park at Dunsford Old School is used first. This is located opposite the bar at 1 Tollumgrange Road.
Regular Ulsterbus services operate to Chapeltown from Downpatrick Bus Centre, the service is 16A.
Saint Patrick's Well