Comber is a small town in County Down, Northern Ireland. It lies 5 miles south of Newtownards, at the northern end of Strangford Lough. It is situated in the townland of Town Parks, the civil parish of Comber and the historic barony of Castlereagh Lower. It had a population of 8,933 people in the 2001 Census. Comber is part of the Borough of Ards. It is also known for Comber Whiskey which was last distilled in 1953. A notable native was Thomas Andrews, the designer of the RMS Titanic and was among the many who went down with her.
The confluence of two rivers, which gave the town its name, is that of the Glen River and the Enler River which meet here. There is believed to have been a church here since the time of St Patrick, while a Cistercian abbey was founded around 1200 on the site of the present Church of Ireland church, a site likely chosen to take advantage of the good access to Strangford Lough. After Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries in 1541, the abbey fell into ruins and its stone has since been used in other buildings.
The Andrews family made Comber a centre of both linen production and grain processing by the second half of the 1700s. Whiskey distilling was a prominent industry by the mid-1800s, the most prominent of the distillers being John Miller, uncle of William James (Lord) Pirrie and Eliza (wife of Thomas Andrews Snr.). One member of the Andrews family, Thomas, rose to fame as designer of the ill-fated RMS Titanic, although he tragically lost his life when the ship sank in 1912. By 1841 the town had 1,400 inhabitants. The 20th century saw Comber lose much of its industry but re-establish itself as a commuter town for the Belfast urban area, swelling in population from 4,000 in 1961 to 8,933 according to the 2001 Census.
The Enler River in Comber has also flooded many times in past years. As a result the Comber flood wall was built along the river through the town which has held the water back since.
On Sunday the 3rd of June 2012 at 8:05am the Olympic Torch passed through the centre of the town on its way to Stormont.