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Jutting out from the east coast of Northern Ireland, County Down has some serious historical credentials. The area around Rathfriland and Banbridge was the ancestral home of the Bronté family — of Charlotte, Emily and Anne fame — and Saint Patrick, patron saint of Ireland, was buried at Downpatrick. This was the first part of Ireland to be settled by Protestants and the 16th-century church at Newry was the first Protestant church in the country. Accordingly, the county played a pivotal role in the Troubles, not least as the site of the infamous Maze Prison. With the new spirit of rapprochement in Northern Ireland, most modern-day visitors ...

Jutting out from the east coast of Northern Ireland, County Down has some serious historical credentials. The area around Rathfriland and Banbridge was the ancestral home of the Bronté family — of Charlotte, Emily and Anne fame — and Saint Patrick, patron saint of Ireland, was buried at Downpatrick. This was the first part of Ireland to be settled by Protestants and the 16th-century church at Newry was the first Protestant church in the country. Accordingly, the county played a pivotal role in the Troubles, not least as the site of the infamous Maze Prison. With the new spirit of rapprochement in Northern Ireland, most modern-day visitors prefer to focus on historical sights — like the famous Old Inn at Crawfordsburn, which hosted Dickens, Tennyson and CS Lewis among others — and the stunning natural scenery. The Mourne Mountains rise above the ocean in the south of the county, while Strangford Lough to the east is the largest sea inlet in Great Britain, with more than 150 km (93 miles) of coastline.

Joe Bindloss
About the Expert

Joe Bindloss has written more than 30 guidebooks for Lonely Planet, Time Out and other publishers, with a focus on Southeast Asia, the Indian Subcontinent and island nations.

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Joe Bindloss for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: One of the traditional counties of Ireland. It is located within the province of Ulster and is part of Northern Ireland.
  • Language: English, Irish, Ulster Scots
  • Currency: Pound Sterling
  • Research: Wikitravel | Wikipedia
  • Weather: Rainfall | Daylight
  • Current Time:

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    April to June and September to October. Summer visits are also popular, but avoid the rallies around 12 July.