The Somme Heritage Centre is The Somme Association's flagship project. Situated adjacent to the Clandeboye Estate outside Newtownards, the Centre is a unique visitor attraction of international significance showing the awful reality of the Great War, and its effects on the community at home.
The centre commemorates the involvement of the 36th (Ulster) and 16th (Irish) Divisions in the Battle of the Somme, the 10th (Irish) Division in Gallipoli, Salonika and Palestine and provides displays and information on the entire Irish contribution to the First World War. The centre promotes cross-community contact, mutual understanding, an appreciation of cultural diversity, and is a major visitor attraction.
The Centre is built on ground kindly provided by Ards Borough Council in what is to be the Whitespots Country Park. It is linked to Helen's Tower on the Clandeboye Estate via the Ulster Way. Historically, the 36th (Ulster) Division trained over the Estate during the first few months of the war and German Prisoners of War were interned there. A replica of Helen's Tower was built on the Somme battlefield as Northern Irelands national war memorial.
The Front Line Experience The Front line experience is shaking with the noise of the tremendous artillery barrage of the Battle of the Somme. Make your way along the trenches in the early light of 1st July 1916. Look out across 'No Man's Land' with the troops, before they go 'over the top'. Experience the events of the battle through the eye's of the soldiers who took part.