One of the most striking stately homes in Ireland, Castle Ward has strong connections with the co-founding father of the Ulster-Scots, Sir James Hamilton, through his great grandniece, Anna Catherine Hamilton. She married Michael Ward in 1609 and it was their son, Bernard, 1st Viscount Bangor, who built the mansion, though their influence can be seen in the beautiful demesne. An original portrait of Sir James Hamilton hangs on the staircase wall. The house, on the edge of Strangford Lough, is famous for its contrasting Gothic and classical facades, apparently due to the differing tastes of Bernard Ward and his wife!
Good, parking. Call 028 4278 8387 or visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/mount-stewart for more information.