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How t o Get to Downpatrick

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For SatNav users, our postcode is BT30 6LZ and our full address is listed in the contact section.

Downpatrick is the County Town of Down, and is easily reached by a variety of routes. County Down is the south-eastern most county in Northern Ireland, and is accessible by air and sea for those travelling from outside Northern Ireland. The main transport corridors are illustrated in the map below:

Map of County DownHow to find us by car

From Belfast, take the A24 (Ormeau-Saintfield Road) and follow the signs for Newcastle/Downpatrick. At the Carryduff roundabout, take the A7 for Downpatrick. You will pass through the villages of Saintfield and Crossgar.

When you reach the roundabout at the outskirts of Downpatrick follow the signs for Clough/Newcastle (the A25). Make sure you make a right turn at the second set of traffic lights in the town centre into Market Street. When in Market Street, watch out for the Ulsterbus (Translink) station on your right on the edge of town.

Just past the bus station you will see a brown direction sign on the right hand side marked 'Railway Museum.' Turn right and the railway station is in front of you across the car park. Welcome!

If you are travelling from the south, the quickest route is the A25 road from Newry to Castlewellan. For a more scenic, but longer, drive around the coast and through the Mourne countryside follow the signs for the A2 road to Newcastle. From either of these towns follow the signs for Clough or Downpatrick.

At the Clough roundabout take the A25 Downpatrick road. As you approach Downpatrick, watch out for ASDA supermarket on the left. Just past this you will see a brown sign marked 'Railway Museum'. Turn left and the railway station is right in front of you. The building in the photograph is the station. Welcome!

We are also on the St. Patrick's Trail, a 62 mile waymarked trail extending from County Armagh through County Down. if you are in any doubt about where you are going, if you see these signs you are on the right track.

To get to Downpatrick by Public Transport, please click here.



The Enthusiasts' Route (or the Long Way Round!)

Unless you are also a bus enthusiast, and don't mind several changes of bus, the easiest way to follow this route is by car.

Queen's Quay Station

From Belfast take the M3 motorway, following the signs for Newtownards (the A20). The M3, (probably the shortest motorway in the world), crosses the River Lagan by a high bridge. When you reach the east shore of the River Lagan, you are right over the site of the BCDR's Belfast terminus at Queen's Quay (official BCDR photo above).

About a mile up the (A20) Newtownards Road, you will come to where the Holywood Road branches off to the left. At this point the BCDR main line crossed both roads on a double bridge, and this place is still known as the 'Holywood Arches.' The main line ran a short distance in from and parallel to the Newtownards Road on your right. A short detour down any of the main thoroughfares on your right will allow you to see the trackbed, now a walkway.

Painting of the Holywood Arches
The Holywood Arches (painting by Tom Clarke)

At Dundonald, follow the signs for Comber (the A22). Shortly after you have taken the Comber Road, you will see, on a high embankment to your right, the remains of Dundonald station. The railway crossed the road on a skewed bridge just beyond this station. As you follow the road to Comber, you can clearly see the railway embankment on your left.

Comber

Site of Comber Station
Site of Comber station (looking towards Belfast)

As you approach Comber, the road widens and crosses a bridge. This is the site of Comber station. The road goes right through the station site. The goods shed is still visible on your right. The photo above shows the site of Comber station today, looking towards Belfast. The old goods shed is just visible behind the darker coloured trees on the left, beside the road.

At Comber the line split. Straight on, where the main road now lies, the branch went to Newtownards and onwards to what was once the packet port of Donaghadee. The main line swung right to Ballygowan. At the junction just before the old Comber station, take a right turn on to the Ballygowan road (the A21). When you reach Ballygowan, you will come to a roundabout. This roundabout is on the site of a level crossing.

Site of Ballygowan Station
Site of Ballygowan Station

Take the road straight ahead for Saintfield/Downpatrick (the A21). Just beyond the roundabout, on your right, you will see Ballygowan station building and the goods shed. As you head from Ballygowan towards Saintfield the line closely paralleled the road, at first on your right and then it crossed to the left.Traces of the trackbed can be easily seen from a car.Just before Saintfield you will join the A7 Downpatrick Road. In Saintfield village, at the traffic lights, a short detour to your left will take you to Saintfield station (below) which is completely intact and well worth a visit.

Saintfield Station


Ballynahinch Junction

Ballynahinch Junction in the 1980s

The photograph above shows what was left of the junction station in the 1980s from an overbridge, looking towards Belfast. The single main line ran on the right between the two platforms, the branch line was on the left. The branch line diverged off to Ballynahinch behind the photographer. The stone base of the water tower visible in the distance on the left is the only surviving building today.

The station building at Ballynahinch Junction was unusual because it was originally located at Newcastle. At one time it was hoped that the line could be extended from Newcastle along the coast to Warrenpoint and the original station building was built at the side of the line. Once it was realised that this extension would never be built, a substantial brick terminus building, which still exists, was built at Newcastle and the service to Warrenpoint was operated by BCDR buses. The original Newcastle pre-fab station building was then re-located to Ballynahinch Junction where it survived intact until quite recently.)

Just outside Saintfield the line crossed the road by an overbridge just past the gates of Rowallan Gardens (on your right). From then on it is out of sight of the road until Crossgar.

A couple of miles beyond Saintfield and before Crossgar, a right turn marked 'Junction Road' will take you to the remains of Ballynahinch Junction where the Ballynahinch branch left the main line.


Crossgar

Site of Crossgar Station

The photo shows the site of Crossgar station looking towards Downpatrick. Only a portion of the original station wall is visible on the left foreground, partly hidden by hedging.)

As you pass through Crossgar village, a right turn at the crossroads in the village will take you immediately to the site of Crossgar station. There is little sign of it now, only the station master's house, much altered, remains.

Beyond Crossgar, the line takes to the countryside again and is not visible from the road.


Downpatrick

The original Downpatrick Station

As you approach Downpatrick, you will come to a roundabout. Turn right here (there are brown direction signs at the roundabout). Follow the signs for Clough/Newcastle (the A25).

Be careful to take a right turn when you reach the second set of traffic lights in the town at the top of Market Street. There are no brown signs at this junction yet.

Watch out for the Ulsterbus (Translink) station on your right. This is built on the site of the original railway station (photo inset). The entrance to our station is immediately past the bus station on the right. There is a brown sign to help you.

You have arrived! Welcome!


Enthusiasts' route from Newcastle.

Newcastle Station in the 1950s
(Official GNR photo shows GNR(I) Railcar 'A' in Newcastle station, ready to set off for Banbridge via Castlewellan.
BCDR trains used the platform on the left hand side of the picture.)

Newcastle station is still largely intact. A squat red brick building with a vast clock tower, it stands beside the Slieve Donard Hotel, which also built by the BCDR. Newcastle was also served by GNR(I) trains from Belfast running via Banbridge and Castlewellan. The station is now a supermarket, and its once extensive approaches and yards are now covered by housing.

Take the A2 and follow the signs for Clough/Downpatrick. Just outside Newcastle watch out on your left for the Woodcroft caravan park. It is just past the Barbican petrol station. The road originally crossed the Castlewellan line here on a double span stone bridge and the line ran down through what is now the access road into the caravan park. The road was widened in 1957 and all traces of the railway bridge have now disappeared. On the right a public road making a junction at an acute angle with the main road, follows the route of the line into Newcastle station.

The BCDR main line ran close to the A2 on the right and can be easily seen. Just past Murlough nature reserve the road moves on to the trackbed for about a quarter of a mile, after which the railway goes off to the left on a stone embankment. It recrossed where the present road lies just before Dundrum village.


Dundrum

Dundrum station circa 1940

The official BCDR photo inset shows Dundrum station, looking towards Newcastle. The quays of the Downshire Shipping Company are on the left. These were served by the railway. The three story goods transhipment shed is in the centre background. The bottom half of this structure still exists and has been turned into apartments. The remains of the brick base of the signal cabin are still visible from the street.)

The line ran close to the edge of the shore through Dundrum. and traces of the trackbed and small bridges can be still be seen. It is difficult to identify Dundrum station as the site has been extensively redeveloped. The most substantial relic is the lower half of the large goods transhipment shed which is now a group of expensive apartments. You may notice the window cills of the station building in the boundary wall opposite the shed.

Beyond Dundrum the line curves away to the right from the road, following the shoreline. A couple of miles of it have been turned into a National Trust footpath.

Your next landmark is Clough village. Turn right on to the A25 at the roundabout at the northern edge of the village. This road will take you to Downpatrick.


Tullymurry

Tullymurray Station
(photo taken 2002)

A couple of miles along the A25, on the right, you will come to Tullymurry station. This is completely intact and is well worth a look.

Just beyound the station, the road originally crossed the railway on a dog-legged bridge. Although the road has since been straightened, the original road and bridge can still be accessed on the left.

From here the line disappears off to the left across country and is not visible again until close to Downpatrick.



Downpatrick

The original Downpatrick Station

As you approach Downpatrick, you will pass between the abutments of the bridge which once carried the Ardglass branch across the A25. On your left watch out for Safeways supermarket. The entrance to our station is just past the supermarket on the left. A brown direction sign marks the entrance.

You have arrived and you are welcome!

 


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