Belfast Telegraph

Old photographs of Downpatrick - from the Belfast Telegraph archives

Plus a trip through the towns and villages of Co Down

Downpatrick's Market Street, under a flood of water, mirrors the buildings. 9/5/1966
Downpatrick's Market Street, under a flood of water, mirrors the buildings. 9/5/1966
'Salt Box Row' on St Patrick's Avenue, Downpatrick. 13/2/1934
Left feeling a bit under the weather customers at Rea's Bar, Market Street, Downpatrick, have to wade through the water. 30/8/1956
Portaferry boys at St.Patricks High School, Downpatrick, crossing Strangford Lough on the ferry 'Jacqueline'. 1/9/1969
Gathering some of the golden daffodils growing in profusion within the shadow of Downpatrick Cathedral. 18/4/1963
Looking over the River Quoile to the spires of Down Cathedral, from the river edge at Inch Abbey. date unknown.
A workman and his dog cross the new tidal gate at the River Quoile, near Downpatrick. 28/9/1934
St Patrick's Day Parade through English Street, Downpatrick. 1939
Road traffic has been diverted for two weks in bottle-necked Scotch Street, Downpatrick, during the construction of the council's new sewerage scheme. 7/2/1956
St Patrick's grave in the grounds of Down cathedral, Downpatrick. 18/3/1965
Over looking the spires and rooftops of Downpatrick, with the mound ot Slieve Croob in the distance. 31/12/1955
Bringing out the big guns...Mrs Mary Kennedy, of Westlands, Downpatrick Road, Crossgar, who is well known in the area for her colourful garden arrangements, with her pride and joy which will be the centre of attraction at her home. 26/1/1977
Mr Joe McGreevy, his wife Eithne, and two-year-old son Brendan, at St Parrick's grave. The Bangor family were among the many visitors to Downpatrick Cathedral. 17/3/1981
Bridge Street, the oldest area in Downpatrick, which is to be given a face-lift under the re-development scheme. 14/11/1967
Bonecastle Primary School, Downpatrick, Co Down - June 1974, the last day at school before Bonecastle closed it doors for good. Back row, teacher Mrs Mary Press, Bernadette O'Hare, Janet Murray, Maria Smith, Briege Smith, Victor Dagens, Joseph Smith, John Lennon, Philip Murray, Diane Maginn. Front row: Adrian Smith, Dolores Maginn, Bronagh Smith, Monica Smith, Patrick Maginn, Kieran Maginn, Jerome Lennon, Stephen Murray, Jarlath Kearney and Shane Murray
A scenic shot of the tranquility of the River Quoile. 28/11/1951
Faced with the problem of bringing a new section of the road between Downpatrick and Belfast across the River Quoile, surveyors decided on an unconventional solution. They laid a series of large cylindrical pipes, as a foundation for the embankment across the river. The picture shows how these 30-foot long pipes were used to carry the road across the river, without affecting its flow. 5/7/1965
Bonecastle Primary School, Downpatrick - school play taken 1910s or 1920s
William Thompson, The Auctioneer, Downpatrick, 15/9/1979
Pupils and teachers at Bonecastle Primary School, taken 1966/67.
Members of the McKenna Accordion Band from Ballycran take part in the St Patrick's Day parade through Downpatrick. 17/3/1985
Church Leaders at Downpatrick. The leaders of the four main churches in the Province make their way from Down cathedral to lay a wreath on the grave of St Patrick. 17/3/1985
Bonecaslte Primary School, Downpatrick: Picture taken 1950s
International Ploughing Championships, Downpatrick, 13/11/1968 To purchase this photograph as large format canvas or acrylic visit Belfast Telegraph page on
Belfast Telegraph's Old Ulster Galleries
Strangford Lough Gallery
Looking like a piece of modern sculpture, the wreck of an old boat lies embedded on a lonely stretch of beach at Strangford Lough. 14/4/1967
Portaferry boys at St.Patricks High School, Downpatrick, crossing Strangford Lough on the ferry 'Jacqueline'. 1/9/1969
Tom McKeating, of Cuan Avenue, Portaferry, a former fisherman, runs an expert eye over the local fishermen's lobster pots before they are placed in Strangford Lough. 4/11/1977
Shore Street, Portaferry, where work has started on the controversial promenade. 13.4.1962
Portaferry, which up till now has been served by small boat ferries which take only passengers, prepares for the new 250 ton £100,000 ferry capable of carrying lorries, buses, cars now being built at Cork. 14/1/1969
Strangford Village, 1950s
It's a job with a beautiful view for stonemasons Mr Cecil McGaffin (left), from Newry and Mr Ton Campbell, from Hillsborough, who have the task of repointing the stonework 50 feet above sea level of the ruins of Sketrick Castle, near Whiterock, on the shore of Strangford Lough. 1 7/6/1976
Boats of all shapes and sizes left high and dry by the outgoing tide on a quiet estuary of Strangford Lough, near Comber, Co.Down. 25/4/1967
Two fishermen wait patiently for the ferryboat to pass by before casting, at the harbour at Strangford. 9/10/1968
A tranquil scene at Strangford as the ferryboat makes its way across to Portaferry. 18/10/1968
Every trip the McLoughlin family, of Rosebrey gardens, Belfast, make is strictly for the birds. Nineteen-year-old Jim has caught the family bird-watching bug. Our picture shows the family on a typical "spotting" expidition to Strangford. 18/4/1973
Mourne Wall Walk. Competitors recieve refreshments and take a break during the grueling 22-mile trek. 2/6/1974.
Mourne Wall Walk. a Party of competitors in the 'Mourne Walk' leave Little Bignian behind as they negotiate the last few miles of the 22-mile walk. 7/6/1965
Mourne Wall Walk.Stepping out in determined fashion is Newtownards man Tom Smith with his Golden Retriever Bonnie. 7/6/1982
Mourne Wall Walk. May Murphy, from Kilkeel, takes a break for a cup of tea during the walk, while her brother Gerard checks their position on the map. 7/6/1982
Some of the walkers who trekked over the Mournes and finished at the Silent Valley, a distance of 22 miles. They are pictures passing the Dunnywater Point outside Annalong. 30/5/1966
The 21st Mourne Wall Walk, organised by the Youth Hostel Association attracted 2,000 enthusiasts of which 1,515 people were given certificates. And there was an extra certificate for another participant - a dog, pictured. 5/6/1977
The downhill run, with only two miles to go. 7/6/1982
Arthur Young puts on a bandage to support his knee as he and friend Roy Suiter, both from Stranmillis Road area of Belfast take a well earned break. 5/6/1983
John McGonigle, from Dundrum, on his first Mourne Wall Walk, couldn't wait to let air at his aching feet after completing the course. 7/6/1981
Millisle folk enjoy the weather of the Ards peninusla, as customers line up for staple holiday diet of Fish & Chips from the local vanman. 10/8/1968
Postcard style picture of Millisle beach with the amusements in the background. 29/3/1975
Children from the Alliance /Ardoyne intergrated summer play scheme, who are spending a week under canvas at Crawfordsburn Camp, pay a visit to the harbour at Donaghadee. With them is student teacher Andy Seenan (right) from Glasgow, who is spending his holiday days doing youth work in the Ardoyne Area. 1/8/1975
Among the many attractions for visitors to Bangor during the United Services Week is the landing craft Audemer, of the 72 Landiding Craft Tank Squadron, Royal Corps of Transport.
The good weather attracted many holidaymakers to the popular Co. Down resort of Bangor. Here John Austin (left) and Michael Coey, play onj the deach at Ballybolme. 30/3/1965
Mrs Alberta Cruickshanks and her children from Cherryhill Road in Belfast enjoy a dip in the sea in Ballyhlabert on the 10th July 1972
Tyrella. Crowds fill the strand on a lazy Sunday lunchtime, having a wonderful time. 6/6/1970
No Water in this Fountain. And certainly no coins in this fountain, but an ideal spot for a sunday School picnic, just beside the Promenade at Warrenpoint, Co Down, with cloud shadows playing across the Mournes behind Restrevor.
Co Down towns and villages Downpatrick - Bridge Street, 16 November 1967
Saintfield - 3 February 1964
Hillsborough - Aerial View, 28 May 1949
Hillsborough - Old Castle, 1937
Groomsport - Main Street, 2 April 1959
Groomsport - Harbour, 8 January 1959
Groomsport - Caravans, 31 July 1961
Groomsport - 28 May 1958
Donaghadee - Millisle Rd, Railway, 31 January 1928
Donaghadee - 25 October 1933
Donaghadee - 6 October 1959
Donaghadee - 6 October 1959
Donaghadee - 6 October 1959
Holywood - Priory Corner, 13 April 1961
Holywood - Electric Station, 25 February 1930
Holywood - The Priory, 6 December 1930
Holywood - Town Centre, 1940s
Cultra - Cultra Manor, 14 January 1958
Cultra - Cultra Manor, 6 March 1961
Ballynahinch - date unknown, probably 1940s
Cultra - Cultra Avenue, 27 May 1954
Cultra - Royal North of Ireland YC, 20 May 1965
Bangor, 6 October 1959
Bangor - 6 October 1959
Bangor - from ladies bathing place, date unknown
Bangor from Pickie Pool 19 March 1959
Bangor - 6 October 1959
Bangor - Royal Ulster Yacht Club, 1920
Bangor - 6 October 1959
Bangor - Pickie Pool, date unknown
Bangor - Princeton Road, date unknown
Banbridge - 1950s
Banbridge - Technical College, 3 May 1927
Banbridge - 4 May 1962
Banbridge - Town Hall, 1 December 1960
Banbridge - Main St, 1 December 1960
Ardglass - date unknown
Ardglass - 28 August 1937
Ardglass - 1930s
Ardglass - Fish Barrels, 1930s
Ardglass - Fishing Boat coming in, date unknown
Ardglass - Gulls, 29 July 1961
Ardglass - Fishing Boat, 8 December 1955
Ardglass - 28 July 1948
The crew of the Oriole, one of the Ardglass fishing boats, working on a heavy cargo of Whiting after yesterday's catches, the first since the port was closed last week. 9/2/1954
Hooked...young Ian Thompson is out on a sort of busman's holiday for here he is fishing at Ardglass when he could just as easily have fished in Bangor. However, the journey seems to have been worth while and variety is, of course, the spice of life. 11/4/1978
Eleven-year-old Jennifer McBride, of Rugby Avenue, Belfast, with her dog Skip, looks out to sea from St John's Point lighthouse on the Co.Down coast, near Ardglass. 9/8/1982
Trevor Larmour, from Lisburn, makes sure this one doesn't get away. It may only be what the locals call a blocken but the catch brought delight to these fishermen at Ardglass. 31/7/1972
Children helping fishermen to unload cargo at the quayside at Ardglass to-day. 11/6/1966
Visitors to Ardglass look out through the east window of the ancient church of Ardtole on a glorious vista of the Down countryside, bathed in sunshine. 31/7/1959
Part of the consignment of crated fish from Ardglass which has been declared "black" by the Seamen's Union, lies on the quayside. 11/6/1966
Barrels of fish being made ready for shipping in Ardglass. 19/8/1953
The sleepy Co.Down harbour village of Ardglass. 28/7/1948
Ardglass harbour has its own traffic jam as boats wait to unload a record catch of fish. 7/8/1974
A skipper strolls along Ardglass harbour checking the boats. 28/8/1937
Mr Alexander Magee, fishmonger, of Ardglass. Back in 1947, some Gibraltarian evacuees from Downpatrick stood in his shop, eying the squid brought in as a novelty off a boat, and raved about the gastronomic delights of them. Alec was intrigued, 'hooked' even, and so his trade blossomed. 24/11/1971

If you look at Downpatrick today, it's hard to imagine that it was once a seaside town.

Up until the middle of the 18th century, tidal waters stretching from Strangford Lough almost encircled the town and at one time the hill on which Down Cathedral stands was virtually an island, connected to nearby land by a narrow causeway.

In an effort to reclaim land from the sea, local landowner Edward Southwell erected the first tidal barrage across the Quoile river in 1745, at a site near the bridge on the old Belfast road. Marshes were drained and land that was once swamped by seawater was turned into fertile agricultural ground.

Then in 1934 the construction of new tidal gates took place in an effort to provide even greater protection against flooding. These gates were equipped with self-acting sluices which closed when the tide of Strangford Lough began to rise and opened again at low tide to release flood water.

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In time, however, even this barrier proved to be inadequate and a new barrage was constructed in 1957 at Hare Island, close to the mouth of the Quoile river.

The permanence of the new barrier meant that Downpatrick was closed off to sea traffic forever. Quoile Quay and Steamboat Quay, which once provided berths for visiting ships from across the British Isles, were rendered completely useless by the construction of the barrage.

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Although the barrier cut off Downpatrick's sea trading links, it did mean that the town would be protected from all but the most severe of winter floods.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph