Dundrum Castle itself was commenced by John De Courcy soon after the Anglo Norman invasion of Ulster in 1177. It is located on a commanding height overlooking Dundrum Bay and controlled the costal route north from Droheda to Downpatrick. The main focus of the site is the huge circular keep.
Three miles from Dundrum is Clough Castle. This was another Anglo Norman foundation. A motte and bailey castle, it originally had timber defences but appears to have acquired stone fort at an early stage.
This is Ardglass, an Anglo Norman settlement along the coast which originally had city walls and seven tower houses. Remnants of this remain focused on a still busy harbour.
Further along the coast is Audley’s Castle overlooking Strangford Lough. This tower was built by the Audley family in the Fifteenth Century but passed to the Ward family in 1646 and by1738 was included as an eye catcher with their estate at Castle Ward. The castle is a Monument in State Care within an estate now controlled by the National Trust. In recent years it has formed a backdrop for the filming of Game of Thrones (Robb Stark’s Camp, Series 1)
Nearby is the village of Strangford. It also has a small tower house. This is thought to have been rebuilt in the late Sixteenth Century. Inside it has three timber floors and no stone vault which is unusual for a tower house
Inch Abby near Downpatrick is the remains of a Cistercian Abbey built by the Normans in the 1180’s. It follows their standard plan of an aisled church with trancepts. It is now a very atmospheric place located by a quiet inlet from the Irish Sea.
Further north is the city of Belfast. This is a view from the city centre over the roofs of Queen's Island showing surviving historic works sheds and it gives a strong impression of the industrial character of this part of the city reclaimed from the Lough in the nineteenth century and the location of the Harland and Wolff Shipyard. Its protected cranes - Sampson (1969) and Goliath (1974) are iconic of the yard and city.