"I'm sad to be leaving a club and a region that I have been proud to call my home for the last three years. The Ospreys helped me to improve immeasurably both as a rugby player and as a person," admitted Bowe.
"I'm indebted to the staff, coaches, management, team mates and fans of the Ospreys for welcoming me so warmly and making my time there so special. That said, I am also delighted to be returning to Ulster, the Province I grew up wanting to play for and where my family live
"David Humphreys was a mentor of mine in my early playing days and we have remained friends during my time at the Ospreys. His vision for Ulster is impressive, with Ulster born players at the core of this vision.
"I hope to repay the IRFU and Ulster's faith in me by contributing to a team that is already delivering. The vibe at Ulster is undeniably positive. I've been training and playing with some of the Ulster boys during the Six Nations and there is a real energy and sense of anticipation as to what lies ahead for this Ulster team."
The 28-year-old Monaghan-born Bowe celebrated his 50th Test last weekend with two tries for Ireland in their 17-17 draw in Paris. They took his Irish try tally to 24 in 47 Tests and he has also played in three internationals for the Lions.
Bowe began his professional career with Ulster and made a try scoring debut in the 2003/04 season. His elevation to the senior Ulster team followed selection at full back and wing in 2004 for the Ireland U21 team.
Bowe won his first full Irish cap against the USA at the old Lansdowne Road the following season, again marking his debut with a try in November 2004. He played for Ulster for the following three seasons, amassing 34 tries in 91 appearances. During that time he helped Ulster win the 2004/05 Celtic League title.
He moved to the Ospreys in 2008, helped them win the Magners League, toured with the 2009 Lions in South Africa and helped Ireland win the Grand Slam in the same year. He won the RBS 6 Nations Player of the Championship title in 2010, as well as the IRUPA Player of the Year award and the Guinness Rugby Writers of Ireland Player of the Year crown.
He has now scored 24 Test tries for Ireland, including five in this season's RBS 6 Nations. No wonder Humphreys is happy to have him back at Ravenhill.
"Skillful, physical, and a proven finisher with a knack of being in the right place at the right time, there's no doubt that Tommy has consistently been one of European rugby's best players over the past few seasons and he'll bring a lot of experience and flair to our backline," said Humphreys.
Tommy Bowe Career Details
Debut: v USA 20/11/2004
Points: 120 (24 tries)
Debut: v Connacht 16/04/2004
Points: 170 (34 tries)
Debut: v Connacht 05/09/2008
Points: 180 (36 tries)
British & Irish Lions
Debut: v Royal XV 30/05/2009 (Tour to South Africa)
Games: 6 (3 Tests)
Points: 20 (4 Tries)