Down Cathedral

Saul Church

Welcome to Saul Church

This site is known as the Cradle of Christianity in Ireland.

Tradition holds that St Patrick and his companions landed at the mouth of the Slaney river, a few miles from here, in 432AD.

Patrick encountered Dichu, the local chieftain, who gave him a barn for shelter.

The word for barn in Irish was Sabhall, from which we get the anglicised word Saul.

From here Patrick traveled extensively sharing the message of Jesus Christ and he died here on 17th March 461.

For more than 300 years following Patrick’s death there was an abbey on this site until it was plundered and burnt by Vikings. In the 12th century Saul was refounded as an Augustinian Priory but it too was later plundered in the 14th century by Edward Bruce. One wall of this abbey remains along with an intact monastic cell in the old graveyard.

The present church building, which replaced a very simple building that had been built in 1788, was erected to commemorate the 1500th anniversary of the landing of St Patrick and was opened on All Saint’s Day 1933.

Today prayer and worship continues at Saul as it has done over the centuries.

Services are held in the Church every Sunday at 10.00 am and prayer is offered at different times throughout the week.

The high point each year is our celebration of St Patrick’s Day on 17th March when we welcome visitors of all Christian backgrounds to worship with us.

Throughout the year we welcome visitors and pilgrims from around the world. Some are simply intrigued by the history and beauty of this locality, others are modern day pilgrims searching for peace and tranquility.

We welcome you to visit this sacred place and to be still, to think of all who have walked here over the centuries and of the message which Patrick brought here all those centuries ago.

If you would like more information please contact us using the form below

Contact Us

Please contact us for any reason.
If it’s for a prayer request and would rather not leave your name or email address that’s perfectly fine. But please do include them if you would like us to reply.

You can also contact us at:

Down Cathedral

Cathedral Office, English Street, Downpatrick BT30 6AB Northern Ireland
Tel: 028 4461 4922 Fax: 028 4461 4456