Scrabo Tower, Newtownards. County Down         1857

Scrabo Tower stands majestically 125 feet high on a hill 540 feet above sea level and is one of Northern Ireland’s most famous landmarks. The site was originally the location of a great megalithic cairn which was later used for tribal gatherings. It eventually became a part of a farmed estate belonging to the Dominican Order. The word ‘scrabo’ means ‘cow pasture’ in Irish which would suggest this fertile area has always been farmed. The tower was built as a memorial to Charles Stewart 3rd Marquess of Londonderry for his efforts to alleviate suffering during the Great Famine. His tenants lead a communal effort to erect a memorial to him as acts of kindness by a landlord were not the norm during these hard times. Stewart was one of the Duke of Wellington’s generals during the Napoleonic Wars and was known as “Warring Charlie”. He inherited his title after his brother, the 2nd Marquis, committed suicide. It was originally called the ‘Londonderry Monument’ and was built to designs attributed to the famous architect Sir Charles Lanyon after a controversial competition for the tender. It now stands in a golf course and is surrounded by a beautiful country park. The tower is now open to the public and houses two floors of displays. The 122 steps to the top is worth the effort for the stunning views.