Virtual pilgrimage UPDATE

DAY 13


Today, by 9.20 pm, we have covered a futher 175.84 miles.
From Belfast to Downpatrick (21.7 miles), where Ken and Bruce advised at Zoom coffee that St Patrick was buried. All you could want to know about St Patrick can be found here: He was born in Romanised Britain, taken as a slave to Ireland, escaped, and then returned to evangelise particularly the northern part of the island. Evidence suggests that Christianity had arrived in Ireland before Patrick, although this might have been focused in the southern part; in any case, Patrick’s life associates him with just about everyone in the 5th C church, so his influence was decisive. Also the snakes: he and Hilda had something in common. According to Wikipedia, Downpatrick was re-evangelised by John Wesley, but there is no account that he banished anything.
Here is a stone circle close to Downpatrick:
By Ardfern – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,


From  Downpatrick to Armagh (44 miles): Armagh is the ecclesiastical capital of Ireland for both the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of Ireland. It has two cathedrals, both dedicated to St Patrick. St Patrick seems to have ousted a pagan centre of religion in order to found his church in 445; one account tells of his disagreement with a pagan chieftain over the land to build the church, where
By the 7th C, Armagh was the site of the most important church, monastery and school in the north of Ireland; there was the Book of Armagh prepared, containing some of the earliest examples of Old Irish. The book is described here:
Here is a photo of one of the cathedrals, built on the original site:
By JohnArmagh – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,


From Armagh to Tobernalt in County Sligo (88.7 miles). Like Armagh, the sacredness of the well at Tobernalt predates the arrival of Patrick and Christianity. The well itself is a natural spring in a forest, and the name (Tobar na nAlt)  is understood to refer to its curative powers for body pain. It took on a new role during the early 18th C when English law forbad the mass, as peripatetic priests would arrive in the area and word would spread of the opportunity to hear mass at the well. The Celtic feast of Lughnasa – a harvest festival held at the end of July – has been turned into Garland Sunday. The first mass since the Penal Times was held at the well on Garland Sunday in 1921, and the tradition has grown subsequently.
Above is a drawing of Tobernalt by William Wakeman in 1882.


And below is a photo of the Sligo landscape:
Photo by Keith Richardson on Unsplash


And a mural for key workers in the town of Sligo:
Photo by Sibeesh Venu on Unsplash


We have 21.44 miles in hand, but we will stop in Sligo for the night! The map shows our progress today:







Read about our whole journey so far on our Vitual Pilgrims’ Progress page.