Part of the Great Wars Trail and Columban Way Heritage Trail

Clandeboye Estate 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.

Clandeboye Estate is one of the few great, private estates of Northern Ireland that still remain in the ownership of the original family, the Dufferin and Ava family.

Shortly after the outbreak of the First World Word in August 1914, a training camp was established at Clandeboye estate for the newly formed 36th (Ulster) Division. New recruits trained in military discipline, drill and how to fight with rifle and bayonet, but also in the art of trench digging, which they practiced regularly to both improve skills and increase fitness levels. Camp life was basic for the first few months as field kitchens and permanent accommodations were not completed until December 1914. A finished camp plan shows over 90 new buildings on the estate and records over 2100 personnel, officers and other ranks, which could be accommodated within the camp. Sleeping quarters consisted of simple timber framed huts, clad with corrugated iron and heated by at least one small stove. Huts were designed to house 24 persons but were often over-crowded. After their training, the Division deployed to France in September 1915 and was involved in the Battle of the Somme where many died in the attack at Thiepval on 1st July 1916.

A memorial was built at Thiepval in 1921 to remember the fallen and is known as the Ulster Tower. This was a replica of the well-known landmark Helen’s Tower within Clandeboye estate and a familiar sight to the men of the 36th (Ulster) Division who trained there. The Thiepval Tower was dedicated on 19 November 1921 and was inscribed with a slightly altered version ­ Lord Al­red Tennyson’s original poetic dedication or Helen’s Tower.

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