THE BAHÁ'ÍS OF NEWTOWNARDS
WHERE WE ARE
Newtownards is the main town in a region known as the Ards, an area of great 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, ten miles east of Belfast, Newtownards is the largest town in the Ards region. Ards is from the Irish Gaelic word for a promontory. The Ards peninsula stretches down and carves out Strangford Lough - famous for its hundreds of islands and the diversity of its wildlife - from the Irish Sea.
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. Once a quiet market town, Newtownards is now a busy manufacturing and commercial centre with a population of more than 28,000..
One of the dominant features of the area around Newtownards is the Scrabo Tower, built as a memorial to the Third Marquis of Londonderry in recognition of his concern for the plight of his tenants during the great potato famine. It 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.