Down Cathedral

County Down

According to legend, St Patrick died in Saul, where angels told his followers to place his body on a cart drawn by two untamed oxen, and to bury the saint wherever they halted. The oxen supposedly stopped at the church on the hill of Down, now the site of the Church of Ireland's Down Cathedral.

In the churchyard, a slab of Mourne granite with the inscription 'Patric' (placed in 1900) marks the traditional site of St Patrick's grave.

The cathedral is testimony to 1600 years of building and rebuilding. Viking attacks wiped away all trace of the earliest churches, and the subsequent Norman cathedral and monasteries were destroyed by Scottish raiders in 1316. The rubble was used in a 15th-century church finished in 1512, but after the Dissolution of the Monasteries it was razed to the ground in 1541. Today's building dates largely from the 18th and 19th centuries, with a completely new interior installed in the 1980s.

To get here, from the St Patrick Centre, take the path to its left, uphill through the landscaped grounds.