History

The Parish Of Down

Downpatrick is one of the oldest of the Irish Towns originating from a bronze age fortress on Cathedral Hill which dominated the marshes of the River Quoile to the west and defended the fertile lands of Magh-Inis or Lecale against invaders from the East.

In the first century A.D., literary sources associate the settlement on Cathedral Hill with Celtchar, hero of the Red Branch and contemporary of Conor Mac Nessa, King of Ulaidh who reigned at Emhain Macha near Armagh.

Celtchar reinforced the natural strength of the Cathedral Hill site with a palisade and ditch, and in the annals the settlement is referred to as Dundalethglas or Dun Celtchair or simply as An Dun... The Fort.