Demesne of Down

Today’s townland is “Demesne of Down”.  It is a large townland, covering more than 1200 acres of the town of Downpatrick.

Quoile Quay sign Demesne” describes land surrounding a manor or large house, actually occupied by the owner and not held by tenants.

“Downor “Downe” was the usual English name for the town of Downpatrick until the 17th century.  The name comes from the Irish An Dún meaning “the fort”.   In the 21st century we still use “Down” for the names of the county, parish, townland and cathedral.  Here is a view of Down Cathedral, as seen from Inch Abbey.

Down Cathedral from Inch On the other side of the cathedral is the grave of Saint Patrick.  It is said that the remains of three saints were re-interred here in the 12th century – Saint Patrick, Saint Brigid and Saint Colmcille.  The granite stone was placed on top of the grave in 1900.

St Patrick's grave

St Patrick's grave sign

My next stop was the exhibition at the Saint Patrick Centre, a short walk down the hill from the cathedral.  The exhibition reveals how beautiful Ireland is, and how little we know for certain about its patron saint.  This is a screen shot from one of the films in the exhibition.

St Patrick Centre movieclipAfter filling my arms with leaflets from the Centre’s tourist information office and gifts from their shop I finally sat down for lunch at their Garden Cafe.  I forgot to return my comment card, but I would have given them top marks for food and service.  The cafe is a social enterprise, working with the charity Stepping Stones NI, to help people with a learning disability or learning difficulties to realise their full potential for a better future.

Downpatrick Garden Cafe comment cardIn case I give you the impression that Demesne of Down is all trees and ancient history, let me add that Downpatrick has more than its fair share of shops and traffic jams.

Downpatrick CostaIt also has a racecourse, as you can see from this sign, which displays the street name and townland name in both Irish and English.

Race Course Road signHorses and jockeys should watch out for a townland boundary as they gallop along.  Downpatrick Racecourse is divided between the townlands of Demesne of Down and Ringreagh.

Down Racecourse


More information

Which county is Demesne of Down in?  County Down (of course).

Which civil parish is Demesne of Down in?  Down (of course).

Which townlands border Demesne of Down?  Because it is such a large townland, Demesne of Down borders a large number of other townlands.  Here they are in alphabetical order:  Audley’s Acre to the east,  Ballydugan to the south,  Ballymote Upper to the south,   Ballyrenan to the north,   Ballyvange to the south,   Hollymount to the west,   Inch to the west,   Jordan’s Acre to the east,   Quarter Cormick to the south,   Quoile to the east,   Ringreagh to the west,   Russell’s Quarter to the east, and Saul to the east.

Click here to see a map of the townland on Townlands.IE.

Click on this link to read more about the townland name on the website of PLACENAMESNI.ORG.

4 comments

  1. What a beautiful place, and to think St. Patrick himself is buried there! I believe that my guy Ciarán Hinds did (some of?) the narration for the exhibits at the St. Patrick Centre. Would love to visit.

    Liked by 1 person

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