Theme : History and heritage
While in the area discover the many ruins & buildings now looked after by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency. All sites offer free admission but please contact the office at Scrabo Country Park Tel: 028 9181 1491 for exact opening times or visit www.ni-environment.gov.uk in advance of your visit.
Windmill Road, Millisle, BT22 2BP
One of two working windmills in Ireland, this late 18th century tower mill was in use until 1915 and is now fully restored. A small visitors’ centre is located inside the miller’s house and displays include a large working model of the mill.
9-11 Church Street, Greyabbey, BT22 2NQ
East of Greyabbey village, the Abbey is the first example of Gothic architecture in Ireland, founded in 1193 by Affreca, daughter of Godfred, King of the Isle of Man and wife of John De Courcy, as a thanksgiving for surviving a rough sea crossing to Ireland. Sir Bryan O’Neill burned the Abbey in 1570 to stop the English using it as a defence. The Montgomery family acquired the ruin in the mid-17th century and still resides in the abbey grounds (see Greyabbey House). The Abbey is set in beautiful park land with car parking facilities adjacent. The Physic Garden is an added attraction in the summer. There is also a small visitor centre.
Cloughey Village BT22 1JB
Tower and house built for Roland Savage. This monument is clearly visible from the coast road near Ringbuoy. It was built in 1622, with later alterations and now can only be viewed from the exterior – the site of the castle is closed.
Mahee Island, Co. Down
Nendrum is the best example in Northern Ireland of a pre-Norman monastic enclosure with buildings. It was associated with St Mochaoi in the 5th century until a fire in 976AD, during a Viking raid. In the 12th century a Benedictine monastic cell was founded only to be abandoned in the 15th century. The site has now been restored so that the foundations of the church, round tower, crafts huts and monks’ cells can be seen. There is a small car park on the site and the site is open all year. Located on Mahee Island, reached by twisting lanes and causeway off the A22 (Killinchy Road) south of Comber. Larger sized buses would have difficulty.
Court Street, Newtownards
At the south east edge of Newtownards these substantial remains of a Dominican (Black) Friary founded in 1244 may be viewed. It is the only example of a Dominican Priory in Northern Ireland. Built by the Savage family, the buildings were destroyed by Sir Brian O’Neill to prevent English soldiers using them. Sir Hugh Montgomery restored the church in 1607 and built a house in the cloister but it fell into disrepair in the middle 18th century.
SCRABO TOWER & COUNTRY PARK
203A Scrabo Road, Newtownards, BT23 ASJ
ScraboTower is one of Northern Ireland’s best-known landmarks. Overlooking Strangford Lough and the whole of North Down, the Tower provides visitors with some of the finest views in the country. An exhibition and audio-visual show provide information on the history of the building, Scrabo Hill and surrounding countryside. The paths through Killynether wood and the disused sandstone quarries all offer the opportunity for quiet countryside enjoyment.
Group visits at other times can be arranged by contacting the Warden.
Tullynakill Road, South East of Comber.
Ruins of a 15th century church with 17th century additions. Simple gabled building within walled graveyard, walls of split rubble with filled joints. Remains of doorway with semi-circular arched head. The original church at Tullynakill was built in the late Middle-Ages to replace the parish church at Nendrum. It is around 1450 when the last references to a church at Nendrum can be found. It is rumoured that the remains of Daft Eddy, the notorious 18th century smuggler are buried in the graveyard.
Back to listing