Home

St Patrick’s Mountain

Saul & Ballee Parish

Situated between the church of Saul and the ancient church of Raholp is Slieve Willian, now known as Slieve Patrick.

The site is very well placed for the national shrine to our nation al Saint. From its summit of 400 there is a panoramic view of the area. From the centre of Saul Parish we can see Ringbane at the mouth of the Slaney River, where St. Patrick Landed. While to the north on a very clear day ,the visitor can make out Slemish, where our Saint spend his days of servitude and prayer. Looking west wards we see the Catholic Church of Saul and a little further the ancient Barn of Patrick, the monastic house of St. Malalchy and to the right to Downpatick and the Mourne Mountains. Looking South the visitor can see Struell Wells and to the south-east the Isle of Man. In the foreground eastwards are the ruins of the church of St. Tassach, who attended St. Patrick on his deathbed.

This truly historic site which was given to the parish of Saul by two parishioners, Tommy and Dinny Hampton, was to become a site of the National memorial to our Patron Saint. There is no better and more fitting site for this memorial.

When the Bishop, Most Rev. Dr. Mgeean, blessed the site for the future memorial and then turning the first sod he renamed the mountain. “It will no longer be known as Slievewillan. It will be known to future generations as Slieve Patrick”. Thus he renamed the mountain and to this day it is known as Slieve Patrick. A fitting reminder to future generations of our national saint. It was fitting that these celebrations also took place during the 31st International Eucharistic congress, which was held in Ireland. The Memorial was unveiled on Slunday 12th June 1938 and solemnly blessed by His eminence Cardinal MacRory. The preacher was Most Rev. P. Lyons Bishop of Kilmore. The ceremony was attended by large crowds of people.

The pilgrimage grew every year. For many it was one of the important dates in their calendar. Unfortunately in recent times the numbers dwindled and the pilgrimage stopped for a few years. But the will and the desire is there and the pilgrimage has been reinstated with the blessing of Bishop Treanor.

In recent times there was a joint project with the Down District Council, the Northern Ireland Tourist Board and the Diocese of Down and Connor which saw work being carried out on Slieve Patrick.
A group of local men have come together since to maintain the hill and have it in readiness for the Annual Pilgrimage to Saul.

About

Welcome to Saul Parish, from the Irish sabhall phadraig meaning Patrick’s barn. It is claimed that when St Patrick came to Ireland in 432, strong currents swept his boat through the Strangford Lough tidal narrows, and he landed where the Slaney river flows into the lough. The local chieftan Dichu was quickly converted and gave him a barn, and it was here that St Patrick founded his first church in Ireland at Saul.

Nearby on the crest of Slieve Patrick is a huge statue of St Patrick with bronze panels showing scenes from his life. St Patrick was born near Dumbarton in Scotland in the year 387, died at Saul on 17th March 461, and is buried in nearby Downpatrick. Our church today is a modern church having gone through extensive renovations in 2008, and has 2000 families most of whom have very close ties with the church.

The parish is led by Fr. Paul Alexander pp. Mass is celebrated every day, and a full schedule of our mass times can be viewed on this website.

Saul & Ballee Parish