Newcastle Alliance Councillor Patrick Clarke has written to the Director of Culture and Economic Development Ms. Sharon O’Connor asking Down District Council to consider including the Heritage Gallery at Downpatrick Library which presently houses the County Down historical collection as part of any future town tour of the historical places of Downpatrick.
Downpatrick Library is at present being proposed by the Board of Libraries NI to reduce its opening hours from 53.3 to 40 opening hours per week as part of the review of libraries across Northern Ireland in an effort to cost save. Downpatrick Library presently hosts the County Down historical collection of maps, photos, newspapers, books and other historical information.
Newcastle Alliance Councillor Patrick Clarke stated “Down District Council is keen to make the most of Downpatrick’s rich heritage, and has set about devising a series of interpretative panels that will form part of a town tour of the historic County Town of Down. A total of eighteen sites have been identified for the walking tour, which will begin and end at the St. Patrick’s Centre in Downpatrick.”
“The tour will take in popular tourist attractions such as the Cathedral, St. Patrick’s Grave, the Grove, and the Downpatrick and County Down Railway Museum. It will also focus on less well known aspect’s of the town’s history, including its links to the United Irishmen, in particular Thomas Russell, who was hanged at the gates of what is now the Down County Museum and who lies buried in the Down Parish Church graveyard off Church Street.”
“The present Heritage Gallery in Downpatrick Library houses the County Down historical collection. I believe the County Down Collection would certainly be a good link to have with Down District Council and in turn to be able to highlight the unique County Down collection which is held in Downpatrick Library.”
“The County Down collection includes maps for Co. Down from the 1830’s 1860’s, 1900’s, historical information, a wide selection of books on buildings such as the Cathedral in Downpatrick, local newspapers on microfilm such as the Downpatrick Recorder from 1st issue in 1836 etc.”
“I believe visitors and tourists who were interested in any trail town tour of the historical places of Downpatrick could then be directed to Downpatrick Library for further information and research.”
“Libraries NI are always encouraging more people to use the facilities at their libraries, so what better way for visitors and tourists to Downpatrick to learn more about the rich history of Downpatrick by viewing the County Down collection at Downpatrick Library.”
“I have made written representations to the Director of Culture and Economic Development Ms. Sharon O’Connor asking Down District Council to seriously consider including Downpatrick Library as part of any town tour, which would encourage more people to stay longer in Downpatrick and also avail of Downpatrick Library possibly securing its long term future.”