Don't Forget - Mother's Day In Ireland & UK Is Sunday 10 March !
Bronte Homeland Interpretative Centre provides details of the life and times of the famous Bronte family. The school and church where Patrick Bronte, father of the novelist sisters Charlotte, Emily and Anne, taught and preached have been preserved. There is also the Bronte Homeland Drive, a 8 mile sign posted drive starting at the Centre, that takes the visitor to many areas and buildings connected with the Bronte family, such as the birthplace of Patrick Bronte.
Castle Ward, situated in a large sprawling estate on the shores of Strangford Lough, was built by the first Lord Bangor in 1765. It has an amazing structure where the south west front has a classical design, preferred by Lord Bangor, and the north east front has a Gothic design, preferred by Lady Bangor. Its design was therefore a compromise by including both styles in the structure; this division of style was applied to the interior as well. The house is surrounded by beautiful gardens and walks.
Castlewellan Forest Park is a beautiful park. It has a large lake and overlooking it is a Scottish baronial style castle built in 1856; it was the former house of the Annesley Family. The park has a famous arboretum which was started in 1740, and has many lovely walking trails as well as riding paths.
Crawfordsburn Country Park is situated on the shores of Belfast Lough. It has a rocky coastline, wooded glen, flowery meadows, sandy beaches, long coastal path and a number of interesting walking trails.
Dundrum Castle is a fine example of castles built by the Normans. It was constructed by John de Courcy, the Norman conqueror of north east Ireland. It was built around the same time as Carrickfergus Castle (1180) and provides breathtaking views of the Mourne Mountains.
Grey Abbey, near Strangford Lough, is a ruined Cistercian Abbey founded by Affreca, the wife of John de Courcy in 1193. It is set in beautiful parkland and has a medieval style 'physick' garden.
Kilbroney Park is a large park situated on the southern foothills of the Mourne Mountains, near the shores of Carlingford Lough and Rostrevor Forest. Its superb location provides magnificent views of the area. The park has beautiful riverside and woodland walks as well as good sporting facilities.
Mount Stewart House, situated on the shores of Strangford Lough, is a remarkable 18th century house with some of the finest architecture to be found amongst stately homes in Britain. The many spectacular ornamental gardens comprising the house are based on European designs which are enhanced by enchanting mixed woodlands.
Nendrum Monastery is an interesting example of early Christian monastery. It was built around the 4th century and is situated on an island in Strangford Lough. At one stage it was a well established seat of learning and prayer. It was sacked by the Vikings and destroyed by fire in 976.
St. Patrick, the Irish patron saint, built the first church in Ireland at Saul. Saul Church is a beautiful little replica of an early church which sits on a hill overlooking Strangford Lough marking the spot where St. Patrick preached his first sermon to the Irish. He died at Saul in 461.
Scrabo Country Park, built in the 1850s as a memorial to the 3rd Marquis of Londonderry, is famous for its Scrabo Tower which is situated on top of Scrabo Hill. A climb to the Tower provides panoramic views of Strangford Lough, Mourne Mountains, Belfast city and Belfast Hills. The park also has a number of interesting walks.
Silent Valley Reservoir set deep in a high and beautiful part of the Mourne Mountains consists of two artificial lakes, fed by mountain rivers and streams, which provide the water supplies to County Down and Belfast city. There are many spectacular walks and forest trails in the surrounding areas.
Strangford Lough is 15 miles long, 4 miles wide and has a 150 mile coastline. It is the biggest sea inlet in the British Isles and is reputed to be one of Europe's most beautiful one. The lough has over 100 islands and is Northern Ireland's first marine nature reserve which has been classed as an area of outstanding natural beauty as well as an area of special scientific interest. It is frequented by seals, waterfowl, sea cucumbers, mussels; it is reported to have more than 2000 marine species.
St. Patrick's Church Of Ireland Cathedral is where the remains of St. Patrick is buried. Also buried in the same church are the remains of St. Brigid and St. Columbanus. The remains of the saints, buried for 500 years in different parts, were eventually interred in the church by the Norman John de Courcy possibly as a debt to the saints for keeping Christianity alive during the Dark Ages.
Tollymore Forest Park is situated in the foothills of the majestic Mourne Mountains. It has many walks and trails along the River Shimna passing through lush forests and deep ravines that provide captivating sights.
Ulster Folk and Transport Museum contains cottages, farmhouses, churches, mills and other buildings providing an insight into life in Ulster from the last century. The museum of transport contains collections depicting the history of Irish railway and also an exhibition on the famous liner, the 'Titanic', built in Belfast at the Harland and Wolff shipyard.
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