Flat Ruthie in Newtownards, County Down, Northern Ireland

No apologies necessary. So happy to have this wonderful adventure.  

Anne Hamilton writes-

Flat Ruthie has been very, very slow to tell everyone what she got up to when she visited a small town called Newtownards in County Down, Northern Ireland. She can only apologise and hopes that everyone enjoys a belated account of her antics in that part of the Emerald Isle where she learnt a lot of history.

001 northern Ireland

On 14th – 17th March 2012 from dusk until midnight a Global Rainbow was visible for miles in the skies above Newtownards and Strangford Lough as part of the 100 day countdown to the opening of the London 2012 Olympics………….

Flat Ruthie just had to go and see this laser light display which was designed by an American Artist – Yvette Mattern. 

She had a good view from the “Floodgates”, overlooking the still waters of Strangford Lough with Scrabo Tower (on the hill) in the distance. She was in awe of the fabulous rainbow colours beaming towards her… she was very disappointed to have a poor camera & a very poor photographer with her and couldn’t quite capture the essence of the experience. (if you click on the artist’s name you can see the Global Rainbow)

She was fascinated by that tower on the hill. Scrabo Tower. So next day she insisted on a visit.

This tower was erected between 1855-7 as a memorial to Charles William Stewart, 3rd Marquis of Londonderry, in recognition of his concern for the plight of his tenants during The Famine. The original plan was like a Bavarian Castle (architects were Charles Lanyon & W.H. Lynn) but was considered too expensive and changes had to be made. It has 122 steps leading to a viewing platform. Tea rooms were run in the Tower until 1966. Scrabo Tower is at the top of Scrabo Hill which is covered by a hard layer of basalt and this prevented the underlying sandstone from being ground away by the ice layer during the last ice age. Natives of Newtownards know they are home as soon as they see “Scrabo”!!

Flat Ruthie also wanted to see Strangford Lough as she had heard that it is a conservation area with abundant wildlife and is internationally known and recognised for its importance.

Flat Ruthie is a very keen conservationist. The island studded sea lough is the largest inlet in the British Isles, covering 150 km². Almost totally landlocked, the lough is approached from the Irish Sea through the fast-running tidal narrows, which open out into more gentle waters where there are 70 islands. Countless tidal rocky outcrops called pladdies litter the lough and mudflats, along with marshes, rocks, bays and headlands.

Stay tuned for part two of Flat Ruthie’s Adventures in Norther Ireland with guest blogger Anne Hamilton, a dear friend of a dear friend! 

Thanks Anne!

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