The beacon on the coast

Donaghadee is located at Northern Ireland's closest point to Scotland and on most days the Scottish coast is visible to the naked eye. This little town is a hub with many shops, restaurants and is reputedly home to the oldest pub in Ireland.

Donaghadee’s iconic lighthouse stands guard on the harbour keeping ships right in times of trouble with its beam and fog horn.  This was a critical factor in the development of the town. Up until the middle of the 19th century Donaghadee was the province’s principal port before Belfast became the major city.

As Belfast grew, the increasingly prosperous merchants of the city were attracted to the idea of holidays by the sea. So as the 19th century progressed into the 20th, Donaghadee became established as a major holiday resort.

One of the most prominent features of the town is the Motte, or the Moat as it is known. The Moat dates back to 1818 but the site was previously used as a defensive position in the Bronze Age.  Later it was improved and also provided protection against the Viking raids.  Today the Moat is part of a park, giving views across the town and seawards to the Copeland Islands and, on clear days, to the Scottish coast and the Isle of Man.

Donaghadee is the birthplace of a few global stars. Bear Grylls, adventure, writer and television presenter was born in the town as well as members from the band, Two Door Cinema Club.

One Aquatic Star associated with Donaghadee is Tom Blower, a decorated Second World War hero, who became the first Briton to swim the North Channel between Ireland and Scotland taking 15 hours and 26 minutes to accomplish the feat. Tom and the Great Ocean Challenges

Download the Donaghadee Walking Guide (PDF)

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