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Newtownstewart and its Environs
The location of Newtownstewart, from the scenic point of view, is just as perfect as one could wish. Two picturesque and strangely named hills, Bessy Bell and Mary Gray, overlook the town, while three miles to the south west lies Baronscourt, the country seat of the Duke of Abercorn with its magnificent neo-classical mansion and ornate Italian style gardens.
Newtownstewart itself provides the setting for the majestic ruins of the Gaelic stronghold of Harry Avery O'Neill as well as those of the plantation castle of the Stewart family. In recent times the latter has been the source of a relatively unique archaeological discovery - an intact Bronze Age cist grave - adding to Newtownstewart's considerable renown for history and legend. Like Strabane, the town is at the confluence of two excellent rivers, the Strule and the Owenkillew where excellent challenges exist for the game angler. Golfing provision is also a notable strength of the area while the Newtownstewart Centre 2000 adds an extra dimension to leisure provision locally. This community based development as well as other projects like the impressive Grange Court Self Catering complex are important elements in the local tourism and leisure industry.
Three miles northwest of Newtownstewart lies the village of Ardstraw. Its tranquil and scenic setting added to by a recent enhancement scheme, belies its once illustrious status as the seat of an important bishopric as well as the ancient resting place of the local branch of the O'Neill clan .Today, the village stands as a proud memorial to these and other ancient glories and is an integral part of a thriving agricultural community.