Scrabo Tower in Scrabo Country Park is one of the more recognized and visible attractions in Northern Ireland. It stands on the bare top of a wooded hill near the flat western coastline of Strangford Lough and is therefore visible from miles away. It is only 18 miles from Belfast near the town of Newtonards. The Park has miles of walking trails through fine beech woodland and also among disused mines. As with most UK country parks the nature is beautiful. Beyond the park, the area around Strangford Lough has a large number of attractions and draws many visitors especially in the warmer months. So a visit to Scrabo Country Park and Tower is a day well spend and can be either done on its own or as a part of a tour of the attractions of the area.
History of the Tower
Scrabo Tower looks back to one of the sadder parts of the history of the island. In the mid 1840’s the potato harvest on which the majority of the poor Irish relied for substinence failed for consecutive years leading to a great famine. During these hard years a great number of people perished and many other emigrated to the United States or elsewhere. Many of the rich and often absentee landowners took little interest in the plight of the people but there were a few shinning exceptions. One of them was the Marquis of Londonderry who provided generously for the suffering people. Scrabo Tower was built in 1857 to commemorate his kindness. It is therefore a fine symbol of kind generosity in time of need.
The Tower has two floors. There are 122 steps that lead to the top. Once you climb them the view from the top is glorious because of the high vantage point of the hill and the tower. To the south and east Strangford Lough can be clearly seen in its peaceful serenity. It is a sanctuary to many bird species and a place worth a visit in its own right. To the south the Mourne Mountains can be seen and the green valleys between them. To the north-west and north-east Belfast and north County Down offer splendid views and on a clear day even Scotland is visible.
Within the Tower there are exhibits relating to the history and places of interest of the hill and the surrounding area.
Address: Scrabo Country Park, 203A Scrabo Road, Newtonards, County Down BT23 4SJ
Tel. +44 28 9181 1491
Currently Scrabo Tower is closed to the public due to safety concerns. If you are planning a visit, do call the number above for confirmation.
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