Grey Abbey, Newtownards, County Down

With beautifully constructed abbeys, sculpted monasteries and striking churches, our passion to create and connect with our spirituality has inspired others across the globe.

Northern Ireland has a long and rich Christian heritage which is enshrined in our abbeys, monasteries and churches, while the St. Patrick's Trail will take you on a journey through a host of Christian sites all with strong links to this patron saint. From the more modest to the more impressive, these sites have been able to tell us much about our past way of life. Unique moments of history are often captured in their very walls, spanning many centuries at a time.

1. Struell Wells

Struell Wells was built around a stream flowing through a secluded valley. It was a popular place of pilgrimage from the 1600s until the 1840s. Find out more.

2. Bonamargy Friary

Remains of Franciscan friary founded around 1500 by Rory MacQuillan. East range of cloister, gatehouse and church virtually complete except for roof. Find out more.

3. Grey Abbey

Grey Abbey, a Cistercian Abbey church and its living quarters were founded in 1193 by Affreca wife of John de Courcy, the Anglo-Norman invader of East Ulster. Find out more.

4. Inch Abbey

Located on the north bank of the Quoile River, Inch Abbey was founded by John de Courcy in atonement for his destruction of Erenagah Abbey. Find out more.

5. Nendrum Monastic Site

Nendrum is thought to have been set up by St Machaoi in the 5th Century and also has links to St Patrick in later sources. The monastery consists of 3 round dry stone walled enclosures, one within the other. Find out more.

6. Devenish Island Monastic Site

Famous for its perfect 12th-century round tower and ruined Augustinian abbey, Devenish Monastic Site was founded in the 6th century by Saint Molaise on one of Lough Erne’s many islands. Find out more.

7. Dungiven Priory and O'Cahan's Tomb

Augustinian priory with a 15th-century tomb of Cooey-na-Gall, an O'Cahan chief, who died in 1385. Find out more.

8. The Priory

At the south east edge of Newtownards these substantial remains of a Dominican (Black) Friary founded in 1244 may be viewed. They are the only ones of their type in Northern Ireland. Find out more.

9. Maghera Church and Round Tower

Maghera Church and Round Tower is of major historical importance and is among many important heritage sites throughout County Down. Find out more.