Armagh City

Armagh Palace Demesne

The title “ecclesiastical capital” doesn’t exactly make Armagh sound like an urban metropolis, but its blend of culture, cathedrals and craic makes for a pretty special destination

It’s hard not to be impressed by Armagh’s lineage. After all, this ancient city packs in the history, and the hilly streets and lanes, elaborate doorways and extravagant architecture give it an air of intrigue that’s hard to beat. Plus it’s only one hour from Belfast city.

The Home of St Patrick

Interested in St Patrick? Armagh is the Home of St Patrick. Ireland’s patron saint reputedly had a stone church built here back in 445AD. And at this very spot where St Patrick’s Church of Ireland Cathedral now stands, you can descend to a crypt from the Middle Ages, with sacred music, stone heads and animal carvings. 

Waving across from the opposite hill is the twin-spired Roman Catholic Cathedral also dedicated to St Patrick. The utter tranquillity that escapes most daily lives really must be appreciated in person at either hilltop.

Exploring a pocket-sized city

But don’t be fooled by this serenity: quirky pubs such as The Hole in the Wall, McCrum’s Court and Red Ned’s; family-run shops such as Emerson’s Supermarket and TG Hawthorne’s; delicious artisan food from The Moody Boar in the converted stables of the Palace Demesne Public Park, plus the 4 Vicars bistro; a rich cultural scene; and the strolling opportunity provided by the tree-lined Mall. And add to that the Home of St Patrick Festival and you will certainly be well fed, well walked and ripe for more exploring.

Knowledge is power

To the Planetarium, perhaps, to travel through the constellations or touch a 4.6 billion-year old meteorite. To Armagh Gaol where the tales of former inmates can make for gripping stories. To the lovely little museum at No 5 Vicars Hill or to the Armagh Public Library – established in 1771 – with its leather-bound first editions lining walls from floor to ceiling.

Spend a few day here and 1930s travel writer Richard Hayward’s description of the city will echo in your ears: “The beauty of Armagh is the beauty of an old woman who has aged gracefully.”

To Armagh and beyond...

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