The three churches at Loughinisland near Downpatrick. Located on a former island they date from the 13th to the17th centuries. Earliest reference to a church here 1302-1306. North church built 15th century and smallest and latest to the south is dated 1636. The MacCartans are associated with the site.
Slight detour. This is Hanna’s Close in Co Down- between the Mournes and the sea. www.mournecountrycottages.com
Stayed here over the weekend. Great place full of atmosphere and with a warm welcome. The place is a ‘clachan’ of traditional rural buildings where farmers traditionally cultivated infields and outfields around the settlement. similar settlements would once have been common in the Limavady area but most were lost in the reorgainisation of estates carried out by landlords in the mid nineteenth century. In a few areas such as Drumrickland, Gortnaghy and Coolemonagh this older pattern appears to have been fossilsed by the change to enclosed fields Elsewhere such as at Greysteel and Clagan a single farm now occupies what appears to be such an aragement on the 1830 map.
Further up the road to Belfast. This view from the city centre over the roofs of surviving historic works sheds gives a strong impression of the industrial character of Queen’s Island, location of the Harland and Wolff Shipyard and its cranes, iconic of the yard and of the city- Sampson (1969) and Goliath (1974).
Inch Abby near Downpatrick is the remains of a Cistercian Abbey built by the Normans in the 1180’s. It follows their standard plan of an aisled church with trancepts. It is now a very atmospheric place located by a quiet inlet from the Irish Sea.
Nearby is the village of Strangford. It also has a small tower house. This is thought to have been rebuilt in the late Sixteenth Century. Inside it has three timber floors and no stone vault which is unusual for a tower house.
Further along the coast is Audley’s Castle overlooking Strangford Lough. This tower was built by the Audley family in the Fifteenth Century but passed to the Ward family in 1646 and by1738 was included as an eye catcher with their estate at Castle Ward. The castle is a Monument in State Care within an estate now controlled by the National Trust. In recent years it has formed a backdrop for the filming of Game of Thrones (Robb Stark’s Camp, Series 1)
Back to Co Down. This is Ardglass, an Anglo Norman settlement along the coast which originally had city walls and seven tower houses. Remnants of this remain focused on a still busy harbour.
Three miles from Dundrum is Clough Castle. This was another Anglo Norman foundation. A motte and bailey castle it originally had timber defences but appears to have acquired stone fort at an early stage
Dundrum Castle itself was commenced by John De Courcy soon after the Anglo Norman invasion of Ulster in 1177. It is located on a commanding height overlooking Dundrum Bay and controlled the costal route north from Droheda to Downpatrick. The main focus of the site is the huge circular keep.
Marks of Time
Sketches of buildings in the North West and further afield with a little information about their history.