Helen’s Tower was designed in 1848 by William Burn in the Scottish style and construction was completed in October 1861. It was part of an ambitious landscape project by Lord Dufferin covering the five miles between it and the coast at Helen’s Bay. The tower was named in honour of his mother Helen, who was a grand daughter of Richard Brinsley Sheridan, the great Irish playwright, orator and politician.
It was built as an idyllic retreat and poems were written in its honour by Tennyson, Kipling, Argyll and other luminaries of the nineteenth century literary world.
However, the tower took on an unforeseen poignancy after the battle of the Somme in 1916. The land around the tower had been used as a training camp by the 36th (Ulster) Division prior to their embarkation from Belfast for France and, for those soldiers, Helen’s Tower would have been a lasting image as they sailed out of Belfast Lough. For this reason, in 1921, funds were raised by the families of the fallen and an exact replica, the Ulster Tower, built on the battlefield at Thiepval.
Helen’s Tower is available for holiday letting as part of Irish Landmark Trust’s portfolio of restored properties.
The Irish Landmark Trust was founded in 1992 with a remit to save interesting and unusual ‘landmark’ properties throughout the island of Ireland. After restoration the properties are given a new use as good quality self catering holiday homes. At the heart of Irish Landmark’s work is the principle that the property itself is of prime importance and that any, necessary, modern interventions must respect this. Therefore what Irish Landmark has to offer its guests is an experience – not just a place to stay. It would certainly be a unique experience for a romantic wedding night after an evening in the banqueting hall!
If you would like to stay at Helen’s Tower, or learn about other Irish Landmark properties – please visit the Irish Landmark Trust’s website – www.irishlandmark.com – or phone 00353 1 6704733.