Travel Best Kept Secrets

The Saint Patrick Centre: The Only Permanent Memorial Exhibit to Patrick in the World located in Downpatrick, County Down, Northern Ireland.

The Saint Patrick Center is built into the hillside beside Down Cathedral. It’s design was created to avoid imposing on the gravesite of three saints: Patrick, Brigid, and Columbkille, also known as Columba. The Saint Patrick Centre is unique in that the dioramas, audio and videos present Patrick’s story in his own words using his writings from. “The Confession,” and, “Letter to the Soldiers of Coroticus.” The exhibit is educational with insights into Ireland over 1700 years ago, insights into early Christianity in the 400s BCE, and an opportunity to step into the life of Patrick in the Kingdoms of Down through immersion in the exhibit and the panoramic film that flies visitors through the region where Patrick lived and walked. The lovely gardens add to the serenity of this visit and a stop in their cafe can add an indoor yummy dining experience or provide for a perfect picnic just outside of the cafe’s doors on the balcony of this uniquely designed building. A stop of their gift shop for the perfect souvenir of the experience is worth the investment of time where books, Celtic-designed jewelry, Irish woollens (yes, that’s the Irish spelling for ‘woolens’), accessories and household items that will remind you forever of your special visit to the Saint Patrick Centre. Snuggled in the southeastern corner of Northern Ireland, visiting the Saint Patrick Centre puts you in a great spot for visiting Titanic Belfast, about 29 miles west of the SPC and Carrickfergus Castle Glenarm Castle & Gardens, Balentoy Harbor where Game of Thrones was filmed, Giant’s Causeway, Dunluce Castle, Carrick-a-Reed Rope Bridge, Bushmills, Port Stewart Beach and the delightful towns of Cushendall and Cushendun.

My recommendation: Build your itinerary in Northern Ireland around your visit to the Saint Patrick Centre. Plan to stay, at least one night, more if possible, at the Slieve Donard Hotel & Spa, a modern facility in every sense in an historic hotel at the site of the championship Royal County Down Golf Course. If you’re busting to play at golf at St. Andrews, you can be flown there from the Slieve Donard’s hellipad on a helicopter ride of about 40 minutes so within an hour you can be on the Old Course or one of the other St. Andrews courses!

In order to provide meaningful experiences for visitors, especially for those who prefer to visit places that offer outdoors experiences, in general, and during concerns about Covid, in particular, the Saint Patrick Centre has introduced walking and hiking tours of the region which are overseen by women whose backgrounds include immersion in a religious order. Check it all out at the website of the Saint Patrick Centre and have a look at this explanatory video.

Note: Each year, the Saint Patrick Centre honors two people as “Honorary Friends of St. Patrick.” Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams received that honor on March 16, 2007 for her significant contribution to bringing awareness to travelers of the Saint Patrick Centre and for her philanthropic acts as Stephanie Abrams Travel Fairy Godmother sending adults and children to places the need to go to in order to fulfill their wishes and dreams.

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