The ONeill's were the Gaelic lords of Ulster, their dynasty founded by Nial of the Nine Hostages, in the fifth century AD.
They struggled for nine years but were finally defeated when the English puritan Oliver Cromwell brought his army to Ireland in 1649 and crushed the rebellion with great ruthlessness.
The native tribes remained in control of County Down until the arrival of the Normans, in 1177 John de Courcy defeated the last of the Mac Donslevy kings at Downpatrick in County Down.
t Patrick landed in east County Down in 432 AD, it was at Saul near Downpatrick he built his first church and began his mission to convert Ireland.
n 1641 a general rebellion broke out in Ireland, this was in some way precipitated by events in England where Charles I was in conflict with his parliament, this led to civil war in England.
The cathedral stands on a mound overlooking the town, which takes its name from the Irish Dun Phadraig (Patrick's Fort).Scottish settlers such as James Hamilton who brought 10,000 settlers to north western Ulster, bringing with them the language and culture of the Scottish Lowlands to the county of Down.The Hamilton and Montgomery estates shared a common boundary, the location of which appears to have been constantly in dispute, the pair eventually resorting to accounts of the plantations of the late 16th early 17th centuries relate that the English and Scottish settlers encountered a barren uncared for land devoid of population.John appears to have derided his Irish subjects, it is said that their beards were rudely pulled in reticule, by the clean shaven members of John's retinue.The ever proud and sensitive Irish withdrew and took their grievance's to the Kings in the west and south of Ireland, with the result that John's visit to Ireland was a disastrous failure and he returned to England on 17th December.