Ireland – St. Patrick, Down Cathedral and Shankill Road

Down Cathedral

Down Cathedral in County Down, Ireland.
Down Cathedral in County Down, Ireland.

For the second day of our Ireland Adventure in May 2019, we boarded the bus and headed toward County Down. Our destination was the Down Cathedral which is the gravesite of St. Patrick. It is a tourist spot and, for that reason, someone draped a flag of some kind over the gravestone. I took a photo of it anyway, even though I don’t know who owns the flag.  It was raining at the gravesite and I liked to take moody photos of the cemetery.

The Down Cathedral has some impressive stained glass windows with interesting depictions of St. Patrick. The Cathedral was quite small for a cathedral but very well-maintained.

Stained Glass Windows in Down Cathedral

County Down, by the way, is one of the six counties that form Northern Ireland, in the northeast of the Island. It is one of the 32 traditional counties of Ireland and is within the province of Ulster.

We were reminded of some of the struggles that the Irish had undergone over the years. The potato famine was, of course, always discussed (1847-1849). but

Gravestone at Down Cathedral in County Down.
Gravestone at Down Cathedral in County Down.

As we traveled toward Belfast, we paused at Shankill Road which leads into  Belfast, in Northern Ireland.  Shankill Road is noteworthy because it is one of two roads that suffered with the sectarian violence  between the communities which supported the British (loyalists) and the Falls Road (where the catholics dominated).  The Troubles is the name for the tensions between the two sides.   In the 1960’s there was a rise in the violence and both sides saw casualties. In 1998, the Good Friday Agreement was passed and ended the troubles.  This area of Belfast has hopefully seen the end of the conflict!

Shankhill Road in West Belfast, Northern Ireland
Shankhill Road in West Belfast, Northern Ireland
Shankhill Road in West Belfast, Northern Ireland
Shankhill Road in West Belfast, Northern Ireland

However, “The Troubles” has become a tourist event…not nearly as big as the “Game of Thrones” Tour or but still draws the travelers.

Return to hear more about Day 2 when we toured the famous Crumlin Gaol in Belfast and did some sightseeing of our own in Belfast!