By John Callister
The town of Dromore, Co. Down in Northern Ireland is one that I and most other motorists usually pass by on the dual carriageway en route to larger towns like Banbridge, Newry, Dundalk or Dublin.
In that sense it’s one of our towns’ that’s tucked away and whose existence is easy to overlook. But it’s also a town that is rich in history and character and well worth taking the trouble to visit.
Some of its features include a High Cross, the parts that are original are reckoned to be 9th or 10th Century, a well-preserved Norman Motte and Bailey that was constructed by John de Courcy in the early 13th century, a 17th century Cathedral, and a Market House in the town square built in 1886 with a very rare set of stocks on display outside.
Dromore’s High Cross. The inscription on the shaft reads: “The ancient historical cross of Dromore. Erected and restored after many years of neglect by public subscription to which the Board of Public Works were contributors, under the auspices of the Town Commissioners of Dromore, County Down, 21.D.1887.”
The town was completely destroyed along with its Cathedral during the Irish Rebellion of 1641.
The present church was rebuilt by Bishop Jeremy Taylor in 1661. Bishop Taylor was a theologian and a Fellow of two Cambridge colleges, and chaplain to Archbishop Laud and to King Charles. He became Bishop of Down and Connor in 1661, but prior to this he was imprisoned three times. He is buried in the grounds of the Dromore church.
A number of walkways have been created alongside the river Lagan providing a peaceful and scenic space to ‘get away from it all’ and get some exercise into the bargain.
I trust the video below gives a flavour of the town which is well worth a visit.