County Down Tourist Attractions List of sites and attractions in County Down

Dundrum Castle, Dundrum, County Down

Dundrum Castle Dundrum County Down

One of Ulster's most evocative medieval ruins, Dundrum Castle was founded by the legendary Norman adventurer John de Courcy following his invasion of Ulster in 1177. The site occupies the summit of a rocky hill commanding fine views over Dundrum Bay and the plains of Lecale, con trolling access into east Down from the south. De Courcy's original castle may have had defences of earth and timber, but it is probable that the stone curtain wall of the upper ward was built as early as the 1180s. As with other early enceinte (enclosure) walls, there were no towers, but defence was evidently aided by covered walks with machicolations along the outside wall-head. An early timber hall may have been sited near the keep, where there is a double-latrine in the curtain wall.

Legananny Dolmen, Legananny, County Down

Legananny Dolmen Legananny County Down

This ancient burial site is located on the southern fringe of the Slieve Croob mountain range. The structure consists of two portal stones to the south, one 5ft 9ins high, the other 6ft and a further single sup­port at the north end, 4ft high. The long capstone, almost 2ft in diameter gives the structure its distinctive tripod appearance.

Bangor, County Down

The town of Bangor really developed after the arrival of the Bangor-Holywood-Belfast railway. This brought more tourists to the region culminating in the town's position as a major seaside destination by the interwar years. The addition of golf courses, tennis courts, bathing facilities and dance halls ensured that the town maintained its popularity. After the war, the town became more of a dormitory town to Belfast and as communication links constantly improve, it remains so to the present day. Belfast is therefore easily accessible from Bangor - the smaller town provides some welcome peace after the bustle of the city. Bangor-castle.jpg The gradual metamorphosis of the town continues as many of the older tourist facilities are replaced with more modern ones. However, some traditional attractions remain firm favourites. The small museum in the North Down Heritage Centre behind Bangor Castle is an example. This is also the venue for the Annual Literary Festival . Pay a visit to the tourist information centre - it resides within the Tower House, built in 1636 as a Custom House. The town offers both modern leisure amenities and ancient historical relics, and much effort is made to keep the town to the fore of the Northern Ireland tourist industry.

Donaghadee, County Down

One of many villages on the Ards peninsula in County Down, Donaghadee is a small town with two main streets and a few shorter streets joining the seafront to the Millisle-Groomsport road. Its large harbour, once used by mail ships, now holds fishing and pleasure boats.

Newtownards, County Down

Newtownards is a town in a region known as the Ards, an area of astonishing beauty and diversity which has evolved through the natural forces of wind, water and ice, as well as through man's activities. Located at the northern end of Strangford Lough, 10 miles east of Belfast , Newtownards is the largest town in the Ards region. Dating from 1607, the town was built by the Scottish planter Sir Hugh Montgomery. A ruin in the Court Street area of the town is all that remains of a Dominican priory founded by the Anglo-Norman Savage family in 1244. One of the dominant features of the area around Newtownards is the Scrabo Tower, built as a memorial to the 3rd Marquis of Londonderry, which affords impressive views over the town and also the northern part of the Strangford Lough. The tower is part of the Scrabo Country Park and it is open to the public and home to an historical and local environment exhibition.

Comber, County Down

Comber (from the Irish: An Comar meaning "the confluence") is a small town in County Down, Northern Ireland, 5 miles south of Newtownards, at the northern end of Strangford Lough. The confluence of two rivers, which gave the town its name, is that of the Glen River and the Enler River which meet here. There is believed to have been a church here since the time of St Patrick, while a Cistercian abbey was founded around 1200 on the site of the present Church of Ireland, a site likely chosen to take advantage of the good access to Strangford Lough. After Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries in 1541, the abbey fell into ruins and its stone has since been used in other buildings.

Lisburn, County Down

Lisburn (Irish: Lios na gCearrbhach; meaning 'fort of the gamblers') is the third-largest city in Northern Ireland, south-west of and adjoining Belfast. An anglicised version of the Irish name, Lisnagarvey, is used in the title of schools and sporting clubs in the area. Formerly a borough, it was granted city status in 2002 (along with Newry) as part of Queen Elizabeth II's Golden Jubilee celebrations. The city is split between County Antrim and County Down, the River Lagan forming the county boundary. Lisburn is also known as the birthplace of Ireland's linen industry, which was established in 1698 by Louis Crommelin and other Huguenots. An exhibition about the Irish linen industry is now housed in the Irish Linen Centre, which can be found in the town’s old Market House in Market Square. The city is a popular shopping centre, with a wide range of retail outlets both in the Lisburn town centre and in the out-of-town Sprucefield and Sprucefield Park centres. Also in the town centre is the Irish linen centre and Lisburn Museum, which is free to enter and contains displays about the history of the linen industry (which was a key industry in the history of Ulster).

Lurgan, County Down

Lurgan (from the Irish: An Lorgain meaning "the long ridge"), is a town in County Armagh, Northern Ireland with a population of approximately 25,000. Lurgan is characteristic of many Plantation of Ulster settlements, with its straight, wide planned streets and rows of cottages. Lurgan Park, located a few hundred yards from the main street is the largest urban park in Northern Ireland[citation needed] and includes a sizable lake, and an original Coalbrookdale fountain. The park is overlooked by Brownlow House, a magnificent 19th century Elizabethan-style manor house[3]. Lurgan Park is home to annual summer events such as the Lurgan Agricultural Show, the Lurgan Park Rally, noted as the largest annual motor sport event in Northern Ireland and a stage in the Circuit of Ireland Rally.

Banbridge, County Down

The town of Banbridge, 13 miles from Belfast in the North West of County Down , has a unique feature. The town lies within the townland of Ballyvally, which means the "townland of the road", and the road is precisely the unusual feature mentioned. Situated at the gateway to the Mourne Mountains, it is an ideal town from which the mountains can be explored. Pleasingly, walking routes have been added but they have not interfered with any of the mountain's inherent calm. The angling favourites Corbet Lough, Loughbrickland Lake and the entire Upper River Bann are near to the town and an angling guide is available from the town tourist office .

Ballnahinch, Co. Down, Ballynahinch, County Down

Ballynahinch (from the Irish: Baile na hInse meaning "townland of the island" or "townland of the river meadow") is a market town in County Down, Northern Ireland and with Newcastle and Downpatrick, one of the three largest towns of the Down District Council area. Ballynahinch was founded by Sir George Rawdon in the 1600s and remained in the family's hands until the time of the rebellion of 1798. The Battle of Ballynahinch in 1798 ended the United Irishmen movement which was formed in 1791 with the aim of Irish independence from Great Britain.

Downpatrick, County Down

Downpatrick (from the Irish: Dún Pádraig meaning "Patrick's fort") is a town in County Down in Northern Ireland, about 33 km south of Belfast. It is the county town of Down with a rich history and strong connection to Saint Patrick. Here in 432 St Patrick began the conversion of Ireland, having landed at Saul, 2mi/3km further north, where he built his first church and where he is said to have died, although the granite stone in the churchyard does not appear to date from this period.

Portaferry, County Down

ortaferry (from the Irish: Port an Pheire meaning "landing place of the ferry") is a small town in County Down, Northern Ireland, at the southern end of the Ards Peninsula, near the Narrows at the entrance to Strangford Lough. It had a population of 2,467 people in the 2001 Census. It has an aquarium and is well-known for the annual Galway Hookers Regatta. It hosts its own small Marina, the Portaferry Marina. A passenger/car ferry service operates daily at 15 minute intervals (8am to 11pm) between the villages of Portaferry and Strangford, less than a mile apart, conveying about 500,000 passengers per annum.

Ardglass, County Down

Ardglass (from the Irish: 'Ard ghlas' meaning "green high place") is a coastal village in County Down, Northern Ireland and still a relatively important fishing harbour. The village is a commuter centre for workers in Downpatrick and Belfast, a seaside resort and a local service centre providing housing and a variety of shops and services largely concentrated in Castle Place, Quay Street, Kildare Street and Bath Street. A Conservation area was designated in Ardglass in 1996, focused on its early 19th century street pattern. The village has eight archaeological sites within the area and another two archaeological sites nearby. There are a number of listed properties located on Castle Place, Kildare Street and The Crescent. St Nicholas’ Church, King’s Castle, Ardglass Castle, Isabella Tower, the disused railway station, the North Pier and the inner Dock are also listed.

Newcastle, County Down

Newcastle (in Irish: An Caisleán Nua, ie The New Castle) is a small town in County Down, Northern Ireland. The seaside resort lies on the Irish Sea coast at the base of Slieve Donard, one of the Mourne Mountains, and is known for its sandy beach and the Royal County Down Golf Club. The town has all the usual seaside attractions — amusements, restaurants and takeaways, caravan parks, a boating lake, a bowling green and golf course, harbour, parkland and promenade. The town is twinned with New Ross, County Wexford, in the Republic of Ireland.

Newry, County Down

Newry (from the Irish: Iúr Cinn Trá meaning "The Yew Tree at the Head of the Strand", short form An tIúr, "The Yew") is the fourth-largest city in Northern Ireland and eighth on the island of Ireland. The River Clanrye, which runs through the city, forms the historic border between County Armagh and County Down: Newry was included entirely in the latter by the Local Government (Ireland) Act 1898. It is 34 miles (60 km) from Belfast and 67 miles (108 km) from Dublin. The old historic town of Newry, which is the Gateway to the North on the East Coast of Ireland, nestles between two areas of outstanding natural beauty which are the splendid Mountains of Mourne in South Down and the Ring of Gullion in South Armagh. Newry also has so much to offer to the prospective visitor, with its reputation as one of the best provincial shopping towns in Ireland. The town also has two of the oldest churches in Ireland.

Royal County Down Course, , County Down

Royal County Down Course County Down

(6,969 Yards / Par 71) Founded in 1889, this course offers an exhilarating challenge to even the most experienced golfers. The setting of this links course is continually remarked upon for it outstanding beauty. The fact that this course has five blind tee shots and several obscured approach shots makes it all the more formidable to play.

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