Places to See | Co. Down, Northern Ireland.
The Quoile Pondage National Nature Reserve is situated just outside Downpatrick on either side of the Quoile River. In an atmosphere reflecting the country cottage which stood here over 100 years ago, seasonal displays feature the unique nature of the Quoile Pondage and other nature reserves in County Down.
Here, visitors can wander through the lush woodlands and wetlands of this tranquil riverside haven where wildfowl nest among the reeds and riverbanks and enjoy some of the most fascinating nature and wildlife in Northern Ireland.
The Quoile’s rich mosaic of habitats is regulated by the daily fluctuations in water levels. Marsh plants grow along the river fringes, with reedbeds, rushy grassland and willow scrub. Freshwater habitats are rich in insect life, providing food for fish such as rudd and eels which, in turn, feed grey herons, cormorants and grebes.
Quoile Castle is believed to have been built around 1600 and to have been associated with the West family. It has three floors below the attic and good barrel vaulting which wicker centering on the ground floor. Built on estuarine mud, the south-east angle eventually collapsed but has been conserved in its present state since the 1980′s. In 1986, seven silver sixpence, dated from the time of Elizabeth I, were found at the castle.
Address: Quoile Countryside Centre, 5 Quay Road, Downpatrick, Co. Down BT30 7JB