Belfast Telegraph

Seven Wonders of Northern Ireland: The gem of the Mournes

Day three of our series on places and people making Northern Ireland unique

By Laurwence White

We continue our series highlighting the beauty, culture and people of Northern Ireland with an enthusiastic endorsement of the village of Rostrevor in Co Down by its most famous resident - President Mary McAleese.

Everyone is familiar with the Seven Wonders of the World lists, both modern and ancient, and this newspaper feels that we should promote those aspects of life here which make the province such an attractive destination to visit or place to live in - the true wonders of Northern Ireland.

Over the next month or so prominent personalities will be telling readers why they feel a special attachment to Northern Ireland.

At the end of the series we will be asking readers to vote on which attraction they feel best represents Northern Ireland and those votes, along with the views of a specially selected panel, will decide what truly are the Seven Wonders of Northern Ireland.

These advocates include Dana on the warmth of her neighbours at a time of sorrow; Dennis Taylor, the former snooker world champion, who loves the humour of Ulster people; Eamonn Holmes who feels there is nowhere like home, and Lord Eames who loves sailing on Strangford Lough ... and many more.

Rostrevor, a byword for neighbourliness

Irish President Mary McAleese (60) is a Belfast-born academic and lawyer whose two terms as president were given an historic seal by the visit of the Queen to the Republic earlier this year, the first by a British monarch since the formation of the state. Born in Belfast she is married to Martin and they have three children.

"The Troubles brought my family from Belfast, over 30 years ago, to live in Rostrevor, one of Ireland's most beautiful villages. What better place to raise your children than in an area with more than its fair share of natural wonder: the sweeping mountains of Mourne, the shining expanse of Carlingford Lough and a 2,000-acre park right on your doorstep. So magical a place that CS Lewis chose it as the backdrop for his fantastical Chronicles Of Narnia.

"Yet the lure of this village lies not just in its rich natural hinterland, for Rostrevor has been blessed with more than its fair share of good people, a community which has created a network of good neighbourliness devoid of sectarianism through even the darkest times of political strife in Northern Ireland. Historically, Rostrevor and its environs have been steeped in a political belief system which finds its roots in the 18th century radical politics espoused by Tom Dunn. His belief in the ability to transcend differentiated faiths, a belief in liberty, equality and a common fraternity, defines a local people who turn their face to a positive future for this island, a future where the peacemakers prevail."

How you can shape the Seven Wonders

So what do you, the reader, think makes Northern Ireland special?

As our series runs every day over the next month we invite readers to vote on which landmark or aspect of life here as detailed by our celebrity contributors that they most agree with.

At the conclusion of the series this will enable us to draw up a list of the Seven Wonders of Northern Ireland — the things that really make Northern Ireland great.

Your choices can be sent to Belfast Telegraph, 124-144 Royal Avenue, Belfast BT1 1EB or alternatively send an email to

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