The Mound Of Down, Downpatrick

Map reference: J483450 (3483, 3450)

View from the south

This was originally a small drumlin set in the Quoile marshes. At some time, possibly in the Early Christian Era, a ditch was excavated around the mound and the earth was piled up to form enclosing banks. It is thought that this was the royal residence of the Dal Fiatach Kings of Ulaid.

Some views of the outer ditch

Their representatives, the MacDonlevys, were defeated by the Anglo-Normans under John de Courcy, at the end of the 12th century. Near the SE edge of the mound is a smaller U-shaped mound with its own enclosing ditch.

Some views of the motte

It is thought that this may be an Anglo-Norman motte, and that the main mound functioned as a bailey. The peculiar shape of the smaller mound may be due to the fact that it was never finished or that it has been quarried in later times. The Mound of Down measures about 100m by 175m. The banks are thickly planted so that much of the detail is obscured when viewed from a distance. Fortunately the ditches, for the most part, have been kept clear. For most of its life it would have been surrounded by marshy ground and the outer ditches may have been flooded. The approaches are much drier now and a visit is essential to appreciate its size and splendour.

Some views of the inner ditch

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