History comes to life at Dundrum Castle and Grey Abbey

Date published: 15 March 2019

This March why not take a trip back in time and experience Living History at two of Northern Ireland’s historic monuments?

On Saturday 16 March 2019, Grey Abbey in County Down will host ‘Herbs & the Curing Arts’.  This event provides a fascinating opportunity to learn about a world where the only cures for all ills were growing in your garden, where the doctor was called a “leech” for a reason, and bloodletting was the Barber-Surgeon’s most popular treatment. 

At this Living History event, in the time before hygiene was even thought of Brother Apothecaries will demonstrate the Curing Arts using the herbs and simples grown in the gardens of Grey Abbey. 

Take a trip to Dundrum Castle on Saturday 23 March 2019 to experience ‘The Norman Knights of Dundrum’. At this event, 13th-century Norman knights and their Household will demonstrate their fighting skills on the Castle lawns. Visit the past and witness the knights of Dundrum in battle re-enactments and learn more about the swords and other weapons of that time. 

Iain Greenway, Director, Historic Environment Division at the Department for Communities who manage the state care properties said: “Living History events provide a fantastic way of bringing more people to our State Care properties. The events offer a fun and educational experience for the whole family, bringing the history associated with these amazing places to life.

“I hope that events like these will encourage more people to visit, explore and appreciate the wealth of historic properties on their doorstep, all of which have amazing stories to tell.”

Both events run from 1pm – 5pm and admission is free.

Notes to editors: 

1. Grey Abbey background

  • Along with Inch Abbey, Greyabbey is the best example of Anglo-Norman Cistercian architecture in Ulster and was the daughter house of Holm Cultram (Cumbria). It was founded in 1193 by Affreca, wife of John de Courcy, the Anglo-Norman invader of East Ulster. Poor and decayed in the late Middle Ages, the abbey was dissolved in 1541 but in the early 17th century was granted to Sir Hugh Montgomery and the nave was refurbished for parish worship until the late 18th century. The remains, in the beautiful parkland setting of the nearby grand house of Rosemount, consist of the church with cloister and surrounding buildings to the south
  • There is a small visitor centre with displays at the entrance and a reconstructed ‘medieval’ physic (herb) garden
  • There is pedestrian and wheelchair access from the car park to the visitor centre, herb garden and abbey church. Gravel paths and grass areas may make some parts of the site inaccessible to some users
  • No unaccompanied children under the age of 16

2. Dundrum Castle background

  • Believed to have been built in or around 1177, Dundrum Castle was built by John De Courcy as part of his coastal defence after he invaded Ulster
  • Dundrum Castle is located on a wooded hill north-west of Dundrum village near Newcastle. It controls access to Lecale and dominates Dundrum Bay. Its main purpose was to control the land routes from Drogheda to Downpatrick
  • Access may be difficult for wheelchair users as the site is a sloping rocky knoll
  • No unaccompanied children under the age of 16
  • These events are Love Heritage NI events facilitated by Irish Arms Historical Reproductions and organised by Historic Environment Division, Department for Communities

3. Media enquiries to DfC Press Office on 028 9082 3505 of email: press.office@communities-ni.gov.uk. Out of office hours please contact the Duty Press Office on 028 9037 8110

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