No footpath at Saul church despite number of tourists

No footpath at Saul church despite number of tourists

12 September 2018

TOURISM officials have been asked to improve pedestrian links to Ireland’s most historic church located on the outskirts of Downpatrick.

South Down MLA Colin McGrath has called for a path linking Saul Parish Church with the nearby Saul Road to ensure people on foot can access the historic building safely.  There is currently no path despite the thousands of people who visit the church each year.

Mr McGrath said Downpatrick and Lecale had an “extensive ecclesiastic tourism product” associated with the patron saint, but many parts of it were disjointed and lessened the attractiveness of the product to visitors.

He continued: “I have been approached by constituents requesting that the footpath at the Saul Road is extended to nearby Saul Brae where the church is located.

“This would provide invaluable connectivity for those wishing to walk from Downpatrick to the location and explore the area where St Patrick established the first church in Ireland.”

Mr McGrath said the provision of a new path would also greatly assist the annual pilgrimage on March 17 when hundreds of people follow in the footsteps of St Patrick. 

“With the provision of a new path, such events could be enhanced and extended. I will be pursuing this idea and others in connection to the St Patrick’s product with Newry, Mourne and Down Council tourism officers and Transport NI officials over the coming weeks.”