Saint Patrick’s Way: The Pilgrim walk map is a 132km (82 mile) trail connecting Armagh and Downpatrick as the two locations on the island of Ireland most closely related to Saint Patrick. Saint Patrick’s Way is suitable for leisure walking and pilgrimages. The Walk begins at the Navan Centre outside the ancient city of Armagh winding through beautiful landscapes and historic cities, to end at Saint Patrick’s final resting place at Down Cathedral in Downpatrick.
Pick up a Pilgrim’s Passport at any of the Visitor Information Centres in the area. Stamp it at the 10 locations along the route, as a souvenir of your journey. When you show your completed Passport at The Saint Patrick Centre in Downpatrick, you receive a Certificate of Achievement.
The Pilgrim’s Walk takes between 6 -10 days, depending on your pace. While the Walk is signposted and divided into manageable sections, it is recommended that you accompany this information with Ordnance Survey maps, available from Visitor Information Centres. Click here for The Pilgrim’s Guide
Navan Centre to Armagh – 5km
As Emain Macha, Navan Fort was the ancient seat of Kings and earliest capital of Ulster. Saint Patrick is thought to have healed a local chieftain, Daire, who then gave him the site on the hill in Armagh to build his church. In Ard Macha, or Armagh, Saint Patrick established the city as a great seat of Christianity, as it remains today, and the city grew around his church. The city is rich in elegant Georgian architecture and fascinating Christian heritage. Explore Saint Patrick’s Church Of Ireland Cathedral, Saint Patrick’s RC Cathedral, Armagh County Museum, Armagh Robinson Library, 5 Vicar’s Hill and Armagh Observatory and Planetarium
Armagh to Scarva – 20km
The area offers brisk cycle routes and you can explore the charm and beauty of Moneypenny’s Lockhouse and trace the history of Newry Canal. Banbridge is only a short distance from Scarva, and worth the detour. Proximity to the River Bann helped develop the linen industry in the area, and Ferguson’s Linen Factory still thrives as one of the last makers of quality damask Irish linen. Visit the F.E. McWilliam Gallery and Studio, located one mile from Banbridge Town Centre, dedicated to the memory of Banbridge-born sculptor Frederick Edward McWilliam, one of Ireland’s most influential and successful artists.
Scarva to Newry – 20 km
This section of your journey is via Newry Canal towpath, on mainly flat waterside paths, to the historic city of Newry. Newry Canal is the oldest summit level canal in Britain and Ireland, and opened in 1742, connecting Portadown and Newry. It once had 14 lock gates. The workers who dug the canal were known as ‘navvies’ and these men lived in camps alongside the canal as they worked.
While travelling on his mission in Ireland, Saint Patrick spent time in a place called Glen Righe, or Clanrye. Patrick planted a yew tree here above the Clanrye River that flows through Newry, as a symbol of his faith. Today, Newry city’s coat of arms shows Saint Patrick between yew trees.
Newry to Rostrevor – 15 km
The Walk takes you through stunning scenery as you approach Warrenpoint and then Rostrevor. Looking across Carlingford Lough you can see the Cooley Mountains, while looking north-east, the Mourne Mountains tower before you. The picturesque village of Rostrevor contains many fine eighteenth and nineteenth century homes and has barely changed from its Edwardian heyday. From the charming C.S Lewis inspired Narnia Trail to its world-class mountain bike trails, Kilbroney Park in Rostrevor offers a host of attractions. Rostrevor is also home to the Holm Oak Tree, Northern Ireland’s representative for the ‘European Tree of The Year 2017’ competition.
Rostrevor to Newcastle – 38km
An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty area, you’ll follow parts of the Ulster Way and Mourne Way, through the foothills of the mountains on spectacular terrain. CS Lewis, author of The Chronicles of Narnia, holidayed in the Mournes near Rostrevor, and the location inspired his fictional landscapes.
The summit of Slieve Donard, the highest peak in Northern Ireland, has a hermit’s cell in the Great Cairn and an oratory in the Lesser Cairn, both constructed by Saint Donard. He was the son of a local pagan chieftain and an important disciple of Saint Patrick. Donard’s conversion to Christianity is said to have been prompted by Saint Patrick bringing Donard’s bull back to life after it had been butchered.
Newcastle to Tyrella – 18km
Leaving Newcastle, you pass the elegant facade of the Slieve Donard Resort and Spa, then the world-famous Royal County Down Golf Club that hosted the Irish Open 2015. The path then leads you to Murlough National Nature Reserve.
After exploring the ancient sand dune ecosystem, the Walk follows the inner bay to the villages of Dundrum and Clough.
Look out for wading birds on the mudflats as this is an important habitat for them.
Tyrella to Downpatrick – 16 km
The story of Christianity in Ireland began in Downpatrick and the Lecale area, where Saint Patrick brought his boat ashore on Strangford Lough. Visitors can still walk in Saint Patrick’s footsteps, from Saul Church, said to be the first ecclesiastical site in Ireland, to The Ruins of St. Tassach’s Church (near Raholp), famed as the place where Saint Patrick was given the last rites, or the holy Wells at Struell, where legend has it that Patrick sung psalms all night whilst naked! Today, these wells are more commonly known for their reputed healing powers. The spiritual centre of this section of The Pilgrim’s Walk is Down Cathedral, a place of Christian worship since the 5th century.