Four-Star Quality on Display at Down County Museum

Tourism Northern Ireland Chief Executive John McGrillen has congratulated Down County Museum on being awarded a four-star visitor experience award.
Located in the historic buildings of the eighteenth century County Gaol of Down, the Museum is the home of the iconic Downpatrick High Cross, which was recently showcased in a 12-page feature in Spanish archaeological magazine Revista Medieval.
Originally carved around AD 900 as a "prayer in stone" the high cross is of great historical, cultural and religious significance.
The Museum collects, conserves and exhibits artefacts relating to the history of County Down from the earliest times to the present day, and recently completed an extension housing three new permanent galleries and a brand new tearoom.
Tourism NI's independent grading scheme awards tourist facilities and services with a one- to five-star rating to indicate the level of quality a visitor can expect when visiting an attraction or activity. The four-star rating means that visitors to the Museum can expect to enjoy an ‘excellent’ overall experience.
John McGrillen said: "This collection illustrating the story of the development of Christianity in the locality, with the centrepiece the 10th century High Cross, is quite superb. So I am delighted, but not surprised, that Down County Museum has been rated as a four-star experience within the Tourism NI quality scheme. In the lead-up to St Patrick's Day, I have no doubt there will be many visitors enthralled and entertained by the excellent archaeology, history, art, craft and natural history on display here, as well as the Cathedral View Tea Room and new tours on offer."
To achieve a star-rating, visitor attractions are subject to checks from a mystery visitor. The quality assessment takes multiple aspects of the visitor experience into account, from initial booking to customer care and the overall experience of the attraction. 
Michael Ruane, Chairman of Newry Mourne and Down District Council said: "Newry, Mourne and Down District Council is very proud of Down County Museum’s achievement of a four-star grading in Tourism NI’s Quality Grading scheme.
"It reflects the great improvements that have been made through the Downpatrick High Cross extension project last year, and the dramatic increase in visitors now enjoying the fantastic new facilities. This is a great 35th birthday present for the Museum and recognises its tremendous work in preserving and displaying local heritage for all to enjoy."
For further information contact Tourism NI Communications: Telephone: 028 9044 1644 Twitter: @nitouristboard
Below: Mike King, Down County Museum, John McGrillen, CEO Tourism NI and Michael Ruane, Chairman of Newry, Mourne & Down District Council.