14 Church Street
BT30 6EJ

History is etched in every stone and timber of the De Courcy Arms in Downpatrick’s Church Street. The inn bears the arms of the illustrious Norman knight, John de Courcy, who established his reign as Earl of Ulster in Downpatrick in 1177, and governed until 1203.

He built a stately abbey on the site of the present Down Cathedral and a strong fort nearby. The present pub occupies a site at the base of the ramparts of that great castle, little of which now remains. History was again made on the ancient site three years ago, through the enterprise of the proprietors of the De Courcy 62 Arms, the Walsh brothers.

They persuaded the last of the De Courcy family, John, Lord Kingsdale, baron of Courcy and premier Baron of Ireland, the direct descendant of John de Courcy, to return in the footsteps of his colourful ancestor, the first of his line in Downpatrick for over 800 years.

On this occasion, the mission was peaceful, to declare open the refurbished and restored hostelry, dedicated to his famous ancestor. Above the log fire on the old stone wall of the establishment hangs a modern-day proclamation acknowledging the connection between the de Courcy family and the inn, and featuring the crest and motto ‘Vincit Omnia Veritas’ (Truth Conquers All).

Artefacts and emblems of the days of Knights and mediaeval courtliness abound in the main lounge, including shields, prints, a suit of armour, wooden bench seating and recessed window’ seats shrouded in red velvets involuntarily bring back half-remembered snatches from The Lady of Shallot.

The tiles on the main entrance floor were acquired from Mount Panther, and the original tiled floor was unearthed from below a 6-inch coat of concrete, after flooding had occurred. The former entrance into the backyard, which allowed horses access, has been roofed over to form a splendid conservatory which boasts a massive Christmas vine.

The whitewashed walls, hanging vines, and many of the international dishes prepared by chef Tony Conlon, make this an ideal and popular spot to enjoy excellent food and drink, to the accompaniment, on Sundays, of music to suit a variety of tastes.

The stated aim of the De Courcy Arms is to provide for its clientele a balance of modern food, drink, service and entertainment, and the ambience of an earlier age of chivalry and knightly “gentillesse”.