On the outskirts of Newtownards town centre are the substantial remains of a Dominican (Black) Friar

The Ards Priory is part of the Columban Way, a heritage trail between Comber and Bangor covering 20 miles (32 km). A trail to experience the area’s rich and diverse history, Bronze Age relics, monastic settlements, Viking attacks, industrial heritage and military influences in both the First and Second World Wars, are just some points of interest you will discover along the way. Find out more about the Columban Way Heritage Trail.


Founded in 1244, they are the only ones of their type in Northern Ireland. The existing remains, built by the Savage family, were destroyed by Sir Brian O'Neill to prevent English soldiers using them. 

Sir Hugh Montgomery, who settled this area when the Ulster-Scots arrived in the early 1600's, restored the church in 1607 and added a small chapel. However, it fell into disrepair in the middle of the 18th-century to what you see today. 

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