Portavogie is one of the main fishing ports in the province and is a seafood lover's paradise. The town is famous for its prawns and herrings, which have given rise to a fish processing industry as well as boat building.
The village's history can be traced back to the late 16th and early 17th century when a settlement was established north of the present village at a sheltered bay called Stablehole.
The village has become an important maritime centre because of its location and the rich supply of superb seafood in local waters. In fact, seafood is one of County Down’s most highly-prized exports. The celebrated Portavogie prawn features on many restaurant menus, locally and globally.
McCammon Rocks is a reef that lies just out to sea from Portavogie and at low tide you can walk to them. Historically, fishermen anchored their boats on the rocks, today it is very common to see seals gather.
A little inland is Kirkistown Race Track. This is a former RAF airfield and now the venue for regular car and motorcycle races that draw crowds throughout the summer season.
To the right of Portavogie harbour, there is a George Best mural. The famous footballer lived in Portavogie in the years before his death and locals remember him well. Villagers also celebrate Eileen Palmer, who set up the Fishermen’s Choir, which still thrives today. The founding fishermen in the choir all wore black sweaters, knitted by relatives. Poignantly, each garment had a unique pattern, ensuring that the wearer could be identified if they were lost at sea.
For information on the fishing heritage of Portavogie, download our guide, available; here
For further information you can download our Portavogie Heritage Trail leaflet, available; here