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Castle Ward

Castle Ward is an eccentric house built in 1762-60 by an unknown architect for Bernard Ward, later 1st Viscount Bangor. The entrance façade to the east and the interiors immediately behind it are solidly Palladian. However, Lady Anne, Ward’s wife, favoured the Gothick, and so the garden front and the rooms to the west all feature pointed doors and plaster vaulting behind battlements, pinnacles and ogival windows. The interior boasts a richly decorated classical hall with scagliola columns, delicate plasterwork ceilings and a Gothick boudoir with an elaborate fan-vaulting based on Henry VII’s Chapel at Westminster.

Visitor Information

Address:
Strangford,
Downpatrick,
County Down,
Northern Ireland,
BT30 7LS

Telephone: 028 4488 1204

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/castle-ward

Accredited Museum

Castle Ward, County Down (Accredited Museum)

This collection has 8,899 items online

The Castle Ward collection includes examples of 18th and 19th century family portraits. Among these are works by Batoni, Strickland Lowry, Romney, Lely and Ramsay. Fine examples of the Irish landscape artists Ashford and Fisher show the house in it's 18th century setting. A fine example of a big Irish house book collection remains in the Ward family library (later the Viscount Bangor).Books in this collection were also inherited from the Hamiltons of Bangor and Killyleagh Castle. These go back to the time of the Plantation of the Ards Peninsula in 1607. The 19th century book presses house 2418 books, with roughly 800 pre-dating 1801. Of interest, Irish books, early Continental books (most probably imported into Ireland in the seventeenth century). 'Country house' books of the eighteenth and early nineteenth-centuries, including a magnificent coloured set of the first edition Ordnance Survey of County Down. A modest but interesting taxidermy display includes five cases of stuffed squirrels, "The Pugilists" in a boxing ring sequence and a Russian bear (shot in 1880 by Mr Kennedy) and reputedly swapped for the 5th Lord Bangor's daughter. On the first floor see the recently restored glazed Gothic press (perhaps one of the few original pieces not to have been removed by Robert Ward, brother of the second viscount Nicholas?). Occasionally, as a special exhibit, the work of Mary Ward, naturalist, microscopist and amateur illustrator and first wife of Henry is featured in the house display.

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