Saturday, 25 January 2014

Remarkable Headland “Downpatrick” Ireland

About five kilometer north of the village of Ballycastle in Mayo County near the Ireland coast stands a remarkable headland named “Downpatrick Head”. It is 126 feet above the sea, and it offers fanciful views of the Atlantic, the Staggs of Broadhaven to the west, and high cliffs along the shore. The name Downpatrick Head is derived from a time when St Patrick himself discovered a church there. The ruin of church is still there, a stone cross and holy well at the top of Downpatrick Head. This was once a common pilgrim destination, and last Sunday of July is the busiest days due to famous for Garland Sunday to hear mass at this mysterious place. In the 2nd World War II, a beautiful coastguard watch house was built here, now is used for the viewing of several species of birds that visit high cliffs. Moreover; cutoff from the mainland and lying 80 meters from the shore is a breathtaking sea stack famous as Dun Briste or “the broken fort”. The sea stack got unglued from the mainland in 1393 as a result of high seas, and the many people living on the cliffs had to be rescued by ships ropes. The sea stack is stunning to behold because you can grasp the layers upon layers of multi-colored rock strata. Dun Briste is approximately 63 meter by 23 meters, and 45 meters high. The cliffs in the area, including the stack, were constructed in the Lower Carboniferous period, a geological term applied to a time about 350 million years ago, when the sea temperatures around Ireland were much higher than today. Local legends tell a diverse story though. The folklore tells that a pagan chieftain once lived on the spot where the stack now stands. When he refused to transform into Christianity, St Patrick struck the ground with his crozier, splitting a chunk of the headland off into the ocean, with the chieftain on top. Every year, Downpatrick is haunted by birdwatchers that come to witness and record the several diverse species which take up positions on the stratified face of the stack as the seasons change. In May end and early June, the headland itself is a blaze of color when the sea-pink comes into bloom.