A new pilgrim walking trail linking key Patrician and Christian Heritage sites from Armagh to Downpatrick was launched at Navan Fort in Armagh on 2nd March
Supported by Tourism NI in conjunction with Armagh, Down, Banbridge and Newry and Mourne District councils, the trail offers an 82 mile pilgrim walk highlighting the life, landscape and legacy of St Patrick.
Seasoned pilgrim walker, Alan Graham, who has completed classic trails in the Alps and has frequently walked the Camino de Santiago in Spain, approached Tourism NI with a vision for a Pilgrim walk based on the theme of Saint Patrick. His dream was turned into a reality as he set off from Navan Fort to experience the route for himself.
Laura McCorry, Tourism NI’s Director of Product Development said: “Tourism NI has been working closely with Alan and the local councils to capitalise on one of our unique assets, Saint Patrick, and develop an authentic trail which will bring a new pilgrim offer to Northern Ireland.
The St Patrick’s Way Pilgrim Walk will showcase the scenic beauty of the area and its reputation as an attractive tourist destination, whilst ensuring that pilgrims and visitors alike get the best from their activity.”
Cathy Rafferty, Lord Mayor of Armagh City & District Council, said:
“Armagh City is at the heart of celebrating the life of Saint Patrick. It was in Armagh that Patrick began his mission in Ireland and founded his first great stone church, establishing it as the Ecclesiastical Capital of the island.
Patrick’s legacy is evident in Armagh to the present day and the St Patrick’s Way Pilgrims Walk is a significant and welcomed tourism project highlighting the many important Patrician and Christian Heritage sites in the area. It is indeed fitting the Pilgrims Walk should begin at Navan Fort or Emain Macha as Saint Patrick’s arrival in Armagh and the importance of Navan as a significant pre-Christian site are interlinked.”
A Pilgrim’s Passport which includes a map of the trail is available at Navan Fort and local visitor information centres to guide walkers along the signposted route.