Saint Patrick

St Patrick's Visitor Centre

Explore every aspect of the life and times of Ireland’s most famous saint.The Cuan offers a unique location from which to learn about the life and times of The patron saint of Ireland – Saint Patrick.

When St Patrick came to Ireland in 432 he meant to sail up the coast to county Antrim where, as a young slave, he had tended flocks for six years on Slemish mountain. But strong currents swept his boat through Strangford’s tidal narrows and he landed where the Slaney river flows into the lough.

Nothing daunted by this change of plan, Patrick set about his missionary business, starting with Dichu, the local chieftain. Dichu was quickly converted and gave him a barn (sabhal pronounced ‘saul’ in Gaelic) for holding services. Over the next 30 years Patrick converted the Irish to Christianity. He died at Saul in 461 and was buried in Downpatrick.

According to the 8th-century hymn of St Fiacc, Patrick received his last communion from St Tassach. You can see the ruins of St Tassach’s church, one of Ireland’s earliest Christian buildings, at Raholp near Saul. At Saul itself a replica of an early church with a round tower marks the place where Patrick preached his first sermon to the Irish.

All of these famous sites are within 10 minutes drive of The Cuan. Visit these sites and many more while enjoying the wonderful hospitality at The Cuan.

St Patrick’s Visitor Centre, Downpatrick

The Centre is an exciting interpretative exhibition which tells the fascinating story of Ireland’s Patron Saint. Through Patrick’s own words a light is shone on the arrival of Christianity in Ireland and its development through his mission. A series of interactive displays allow visitors to explore how Patrick’s legacy developed in early Christian times and reveal the fabulous artwork and metalwork which was produced during this Golden Age. The exhibition also examines the major impact of Irish missionaries in Dark Age Europe – a legacy which remains to this day.

But the Saint Patrick centre is much more than a cutting edge exhibition. It acts as a hub for tourism in the area, and a focal point for a wide range of educational, religious and cultural interest.

Colman Rooney

Colman Rooney at St Patrick's GraveColman Rooney, night porter at The Cuan, is closely linked to the most famous burial site in Ireland, that of our Patron Saint — Saint Patrick.

“I consider it a great honour and a privilege that my ancestors are buried there. People will always wonder about who the important family were and I am honoured by that. It’s lovely to be so closely connected with our local history.”

The inset photo taken in 1929 shows Patrick Brennan, Colman’s grandfather and Benny Brennan Colman’s cousin. They have come to this world famous burial site of Saint Patrick at Down Cathedral in Downpatrick to pay their respects to Loughlin Brennan, Patrick’s father. The Brennan burial plot is located right next to the huge granite boulder visited by thousands of people the world over.

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