Dive deep into the maritime history and heritage of this stunning Peninsula, with many tales to tell dating back through the centuries with this free App recently launched by Ards and North Down Borough Council.

The Ards Peninsula is nestled between the waters of the Irish Sea and Strangford Lough, Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. As you explore the Ards Peninsula Way following the coastline you are sure to spot several lighthouses, lifeboat stations, even a lightship. With busy harbour’s which are utilized for commerce or for pleasure with holiday boats allowing you to enjoy the exquisite landscapes and warm hospitality.

This innovative App takes you back to life in simpler times, learn all about how the land was formed and influenced by the sea.

Dive deep into the maritime history and heritage of this stunning Peninsula, with many tales to tell dating back through the centuries with this free App recently launched by Ards and North Down Borough Council. Delve into history of this fascinating region to find out what makes this scenic landscape, the people who call this place home, and the picturesque towns and villages so special. Learn about how fascinating events through the ages have moulded the people, and how these people are intrinsically linked to the land.

Groomsport harbour

The App takes you through a journey, taking you through time from as early as the 9th and 10th Centuries when the Vikings settled in Groomsport, to allowing you to get a sense of life as a fisherman in the 1600’s in Cockle Row Cottages which still stand preserved in the village’s harbour today.

Find out about the fascinating history of how Ulster-Scots brought about much change to our land including the construction, and reconstruction of several harbour’s opening up commercial opportunities and commuter paths with Donaghadee being a flagship hub.

We find about Ballywalter’s Skulmartin coast, known for its unique history of wreck and rescue.

Ballywalter Beach

Portavogie village built up around a once natural cove is famous for its prawns and herrings which gave rise to fish processing and boat building in the area. Strongly Influenced by the Ulster-Scots, the harbour here grew and developed over the years to become the commercial modern fishing hub that it is today.

Cloughey beach

Cloughey, renowned for its idyllic long stretch of sandy beach holds many-a-tale of tragedy and rescue along its coast.

Continue your journey to the tip of the Ards Peninsula, where the waters change from the Irish Sea to Strangford Lough, where you will find one of the largest of our villages, the idyllic Portaferry. Enjoy the gentle climb to Windmill Hill where you can overlook stunning panoramic views of the land and lough and use this handy App to learn more about the history of Viking settlement here and discover the story behind the S.S. Georgetown Victory and the reason divers are still attracted to the site where this ship once moored. Get up close with many marine species, seals, and penguins at Exploris, Northern Ireland’s only aquarium and seal sanctuary. 

Portaferry's Windmill Hill overlooking the town and the lough

This App will guide you through the Ards Peninsula allowing you too easily find out more about how the coast and the villages and towns along this have been shaped by the sea and settlers through the centuries. 

To find out more, download this free App from iTunes or Google Play

A PEACE IV European Union’s funded Programme, managed by Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB) in conjunction with Ards and North Down PEACE IV partnership.

Windmill Hill
Windmill Hill in Portaferry.Close up photo of the windmill

Situated on the hill south east of the town below the stump of Portaferry Windmill, a lay by and a viewpoint has been provided. One can enjoy a breath-taking view of Strangford Lough from the mouth of the Lough to Greyabbey.

Slans Graveyard
Churches & Sacred Sites
Close up photo of one of the gravestones, with others within view

Within it are the ruins of a medieval church which is believed to be the Church of Ardmacossce or Ardmacaisse, mentioned in the Taxation of Pope Nicholas, 1306, along with an unusual cross-carved boulder.

Exploris Aquarium & Seal Sanctuary
Zoo / Aquarium
a boy and his dad looking at a sea creature in the tank

Enjoy a diver's view of marine life from around the world without getting wet. An underwater Tunnel Experience, friendly sharks and a Dwarfcrocodile, a Waddle of Penguins, all star in Northern Ireland’s only aquarium and seal rehabilitation centre.

Strangford Lough Ferry
Boats & Ferries
Strangford Lough Ferry

The ferry links the beautiful Ards and Lecale Peninsulas and the villages of Strangford and Portaferry across the Narrows of Strangford Lough. The 10 minute ferry journey allows you to take in the stunning scenery of this Marine Nature Reserve.

The Portico of Ards
Arts Centre
The Portico of Ards, exterior

Built in 1841, this beautiful Greek-style church hosts concerts and houses heritage displays. Guided tours include the organ loft and a chance to play on the spectacular restored pipe organ. To book a tour or see what's on visit porticoards.com