The conference field trip on Saturday, 29 June, 2013, will be to Downpatrick and the surrounding area. We are grateful to colleagues and former colleagues in the School of Geography, Archaeology and Palaeoecology at Queen’s for guiding us in the course of our trip.

The bus will depart from Queen’s University on Saturday morning at 10.00 and will arrive back in Belfast on Saturday evening by 18.00.

The first visit (scheduled for 11.00) will be to the church of Saul (Saball Pátraic), traditionally said to be the first church founded by Saint Patrick in Ireland, and Struell Wells where we will be guided by Finbar McCormick.

 We will have our lunch in the County Museum in Downpatrick at 13.00 and will proceed to at 14.00 to the sites now known as the ‘English Mount’ and Cathedral Hill which have been variously identified with Dún Lethglaise and Ráith Celtchair in early Irish sources (including Ulster Cycle texts). Here we will have the benefit of the expertise of Philip MacDonald and Richard Warner.

 We will then visit the ruins of the Abbey of Inch, a short distance north of the town, which has been identified with Inis Cúscraid in the Book of Leinster version of Táin Bó Cúailnge (where it is associated with Cúscraidh Mend Macha, son of Conchobar, king of Ulster) and the Martyrology of Óengus. Although best-known as the site of a Cistercian Abbey which was founded by John de Courcy in 1187, it has been established that it was the site of a pre-existing early Irish church.