Driving through the centre of Greyabbey it's easy to miss the grand ruins of the Cistercian Abbey that gives the village its name.
From the air, though, we're seeing it in all its glory. It was the first truly Gothic structure in Ireland, thanks to the French background of the Cistercian order and the English origins of the first settlement here.
Affreca, wife of the Anglo-Norman invader John de Courcy, established the abbey in 1193.
Nowadays, it's the site of a carefully recreated garden, containing more than 50 varieties of medicinal and herbal plants, reflecting the activity of the monks who originally lived here.
The nearby Greyabbey Church is closely associated with the Montgomery family, thanks to the fact that Viscount Montgomery donated its bells in the early 17th century. One of them, known as Old Gomery, is the only surviving example.
Across the lough, at the end of a twisting causeway, is Mahee Island. It features Nendrum, a primitive monastic site.
The area you see here lay buried until the early 1920s. At the centre is a church ruin, surrounded by enclosures that show evidence of industrial work. The original buildings at Nendrum were destroyed by fire in 976AD, possibly during a Viking raid. It was rebuilt in the twelfth century, abandoned again in the fifteenth century, and lay undiscovered until 1844. It was finally excavated between 1922 and 1924.
This Cistercian Abbey, established by the wife of John de Courcy in 1193, was the first truly Gothic structure in Ireland.
Greyabbey is the site of a carefully recreated garden, containing more than 50 varieties of medicinal and herbal plants.
At the centre of Nendrum Monastery is a church ruin, surrounded by enclosures that show evidence of industrial work.