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Connections: My Place My People - Week 4

This article has been specially written for thousands of pupils across Northern Ireland who are doing the Belfast Telegraph cross-curricular project on Connections: My Place, My People. Over a six week period we will focus on Northern Ireland’s six counties and people with special connections to each one. Today it is the turn of County Down.

Beautiful Down is full of fun

At the heart of Co Down is history, beauty and fun. It is located in the south east of Northern Ireland and borders counties Antrim and Armagh.

The majestic Mountains of Mourne in Newcastle are one of the county's biggest attractions. Northern Ireland's two main rivers, the River Bann and River Lagan, rise in the Mourne Mountains which are a sight to behold, as is Slieve Donard, the country's highest peak.

Also worth visiting is Legananny Dolmen, on the slopes of the mountain Slieve Croob and near the village of Leitrim.

A dolmen is a megalithic tomb dating from ancient times and this one in Co Down is one of the most well known in the UK.

Another place of historic interest is Down Cathedral in Downpatrick where Saint Patrick is said to buried.

Scrabo Tower in Newtownards is well known too. It can be seen for miles around and was built above the town in 1857 as a memorial to Charles Stewart, 3rd Marquess of Londonderry, who was one of the Duke of Wellington's generals.

Fishing is a big thing in Co Down, with towns such as Kilkeel, Portavogie and Ardglass heavily involved in that industry, while Strangford Lough is the largest sea lough in the British Isles.

There are many places for families to enjoy in the county, including the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum near Holywood and Exploris aquarium in Portaferry. In Comber, Castle Espie has a large collection of geese, swans and ducks while Pickie Funpark in Bangor provides a fun day out.

Down is renowned for its famous sports stars, from Holywood golfer Rory McIlroy, who has four major titles, to Northern Ireland's record goalscorer David Healy, who is from Killyleagh.

Another famous son of Killyleagh is Hans Sloan, a physician and collector of objects from around the world. He is credited with introducing chocolate to these islands from Jamaica, while Patrick Bronte, the father of much-loved writers Charlotte, Emily and Anne, was born at Emdale, between Banbridge and Rathfriland. The river valley from Banbridge to Rathfriland is called Bronte Country.

In the mid-1800s Charlotte wrote the novel Jane Eyre, Emily was the author of Wuthering Heights and Anne penned The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, all considered outstanding works of literature.

A Special Person: Carol Orr nominated by Grace Doherty

My nana is fantastic and I'm going to tell you why. My nana works as a district nurse. She drives around in her car and changes people's dressings, takes blood and gives injections. Her office is in Lisburn but she spends most of her time on the road. 

My nana didn't start university until she was 40, when she decided she wanted to help people. She was frightened she wasn't smart enough. But she passed with flying colours and showed me that if you want something and you work hard you can achieve anything. My nana is very dedicated to her job because she worked on Christmas Day.

My nana cares for me as much as she cares for her patients. She is sympathetic, supportive and pleasant. Outside of work she is just as busy with five grandchildren, especially my one-year-old cousin.

My nana has a caravan and we sleep over there. My nana is creative and likes to bake. I loved baking bird balls for the birds and I loved the time we made pizzas from scratch. She also helped us bake a Victoria sponge for Mother's Day.

My nana taught me a lot in life and I don't think I would have got here without her. So as you can see she really is amazing!

County Down connections

Bear Grylls

Bear Grylls is a highly respected adventurer, writer and television presenter. Nicknamed 'Bear' by his sister, his full name is Edward Michael Gryllis and he hails from Donaghadee, Co Down. The Gryllis family left Northern Ireland when Bear was a young boy. Since then he has gone on to present many wilderness survival shows on television and write several books including one about climbing Mount Everest. In 2009 The Scout Association appointed him their youngest ever Chief Scout at the age of 35.

Harry Ferguson

Henry George Ferguson, right, was born in Dromore, Co Down, in 1884. Known as 'Harry' he would go on to transform farming by developing the modern agricultural tractor. In that field Harry's name lives on in the Massey Ferguson company. Harry was one of the great innovators and inventors of his time. He was the first person in Ireland to build and fly his own aeroplane and developed the first four wheel drive Formula One car. He passed away in 1960, aged 75.

Daniel Radcliffe

Daniel Radcliffe is an actor loved all over the world by young and old for his wonderful portrayal of Harry Potter in the film series of the same name. He is one of the most famous people on the planet, but there will be many who do not know that Daniel has a very special connection to Co Down. His dad Alan is from Banbridge and went to school there. Throughout his childhood and adult life Daniel has enjoyed many visits to the town to spend time with his family. Cast as Harry Potter, left, at the age of 10, he shone in all eight movies of the series and has starred in many other films since.

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