History, heritage and countryside
Conlig is a village and townland about halfway between Bangor and Newtownards that is steeped in history.
The area includes surviving ancient copper mines. Weapons forged with the copper from this mine have been found across Europe. It was also traded for tin from Cornwall during the Bronze Age. Copper mining in the area declined, though the site at Whitespots in the village subsequently became one of the most important sources for minerals in the United Kingdom. The area contains the only known occurrence of the mineral harmotome in Northern Ireland.
The Whitespots area has more recently been developed by the Department for Communities as a country park, and the site can be accessed via the Somme Heritage Centre's car park. It has been designated an Area of Special Scientific Interest (ASSI).
The Somme Heritage Centre is also located in Conlig. Opened in 1994, the museum examines Ireland's role in the First World War with special reference to the cross community involvement in the three local volunteer Divisions: the 10th and 16th (Irish) Divisions and the 36th (Ulster) Division. Guided tours bring the visitor back in time to 1910 where they learn about the Home Rule Crisis, recruiting and training of men and life in the trenches. Reconstructed trenches recount the Battle of the Somme in 1916.
Ex-Formula One racing driver Eddie Irvine was raised on the Green Road, which lies on the outskirts of Conlig Village. Viscount Pirrie, who replaced Edward Harland as Chairman of Harland and Wolff, was also raised in Conlig. Had he not become ill, he would have been on the Titanic's doomed maiden voyage.