The official website of Visit Ards and North Down

The Portico of Ards

Steel Dickson Avenue, Portaferry, County Down, BT22 1LE
The Portico of Ards, exterior

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The Portico of Ards is located in picturesque Portaferry at the tip of the Ards peninsula. Built in 1841, this beautiful church, modelled on the Greek temple of Nemesis, has unique ‘grade A listed’ architecture. It was restored and reopened in 2016 as an Arts and Heritage Centre, retaining many original features including its pews and marbled columns. The pipe organ was also refurbished, with a new Greek-inspired case and a spectacular new console. The organ loft is now accessible and showcases how the organ works. The heritage tours at Portico include the organ loft and a chance to have a play on the organ or make it play by itself!

Portico’s heritage displays hold artefacts from nearby Neolithic sites and an excellent timeline detailing local history from the Ice Age to the present. Interactive options include the story of Christian music, access to a Digital Film Archive and a wealth of history on tablet computers outlining Portaferry’s fascinating history and Portico’s links with the United Irishmen. Guided tours are available at any time of year but must be pre-booked.

Seating over 300 and with stunning acoustics, Portico’s events programme is highly popular. There are concerts most weekends ranging from all kinds to music to theatre, film and comedy. In September, the Portico Comedy Arts Festival takes place with events including operetta, stand-up comedy and sketch shows. Portico attracts many high quality international artists: to check what’s on this month or buy tickets please visit

Portico is part of the Strangford Lough Tourism Cluster and there are frequently offers for accommodation or dinner and concert deals with The Portaferry Hotel, a five minute walk away at the edge of the lough. Portico is also easy to reach by ferry from Strangford: ferries operate every half an hour and concerts always end in time for the last ferry.

Guided tours £10 per person (discounts for groups)
Events individually priced (please see website)


Children & Infants

  • Baby changing facilities

Guide Prices

Guided tours £10 per person (discounts for groups)
Events individually priced (please see website)


Friday, 17th February 2023 - Friday, 17th February 2023

Disney Encanto Sing-Along!Encanto Sing-Along!Gather la Familia! Disney's latest sing-along hit Encanto is here!
more info

Sunday, 19th February 2023 - Sunday, 19th February 2023

Dearbhla and Finghin Collins photos by Frances MarshallDearbhla and Finghin CollinsA recital from siblings Dearbhla and Finghin Collins including the world premiere of Sean Doherty's new work 'Sonatina for two pianos'. We are delighted to welcome Finghin Collins back to Portico, this time in the company of his sister Dearbhla Collins. Supported by Lottery Project Funding from…
more info

Friday, 24th February 2023 - Friday, 24th February 2023

'Springsteen - A Tribute'  fronted by Monte ThompsonSpringsteen - A TributeIreland's number one Springsteen tribute is back... Get ready to rock! Formally known as Human Touch, this six piece band is comprised of top Irish session musicians and fronted by veteran American singer and guitarist Monte Thompson.
more info

Sunday, 26th February 2023 - Sunday, 26th February 2023

Stephen Farr OrganistOrgan Recital: Stephen FarrWe are delighted to welcome organist Stephen Farr on his first visit to Portico. The programme will include John Stanley, J S Bach, Mendelssohn, Cecilia McDowall, and Philip Wilby.
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Saturday, 4th March 2023 - Saturday, 4th March 2023

Simon and Garfunkel Through The Years in concertSimon and Garfunkel Through The Years *SOLD OUT!They're Portico bound! Featuring stunning vocal harmonies from world-class musicians, this spectacular concert transports you on a journey through the epic songs and history of the much-loved Simon and Garfunkel. "One of the greatest tribute shows anywhere in the world" Stuart Cameron, BBC and ITV…
more info

Sunday, 12th March 2023 - Sunday, 12th March 2023

Matilda Lloyd trumpeterMatilda Lloyd (trumpet) and Richard Gowers (organ)Featuring the perfect combo of organ and trumpet, Matilda Lloyd and Richard Gowers bring their highly acclaimed UK tour to Portico. The programme will be announced soon. This concert is supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.
more info

Saturday, 1st April 2023 - Saturday, 1st April 2023

The Shamrock Tenors performing on stageThe Shamrock TenorsThe Shamrock Tenors After the huge success of last years' show the lads with the luscious voices are back to bring tears to the eye and a stomp to your feet! Supported by Lottery Project Funding from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland
more info

Friday, 7th April 2023 - Friday, 7th April 2023

Tenebrae Service with Faure's Requiem for Good FridayTenebrae Service with Faure's RequiemJoin the New Quay Singers for their annual Tenebrae Service for Good Friday. This year The Newquay Singers will sing Fauré's Requiem, arguably one of the most beautiful ever written - in Fauré's own words: "Everything I managed to entertain by way of religious illusion I put into my Requiem, which…
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Monday, 10th April 2023 - Monday, 10th April 2023

Joe Daly Children's Magician and IllusionistJoe the Magician - LiveDirect from RTÉjr Joe the magician brings his live spectacular children's magic and illusion show to Portico! Look out! Joe's show fuses laugh out loud comedy magic with absolutely jaw dropping spectacular illusions live on stage. It's a rollercoaster theatrical ride that reinvents children's…
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Sunday, 16th April 2023 - Sunday, 16th April 2023

Eduardo Martin and Ahmed Dickinson Cárdenas with guitarsEduardo Martin and Ahmed Dickinson CárdenasAhmed and former mentor, grammy-nominated Eduardo, both amazing Cuban acoustic guitarists, perform their mix of jazz, flamenco and Cuban! Supported by Lottery Project Funding from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland
more info

Saturday, 22nd April 2023 - Saturday, 22nd April 2023

1930s dancers black & white photographA Glamourous Night of Ivor Novello and FriendsA unique opportunity to hear classics from the 'golden age' of music theatre, including We'll Gather Lilacs and My Dearest Dear. Performed by: Ali Darragh (soprano) Caolan Keaveney (tenor) Matthew Owens (piano) Supported by Lottery Project Funding from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland
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Saturday, 29th April 2023 - Saturday, 29th April 2023

Legend of Luke KellyThe Legend of Luke KellyDavid Hull Promotions presents... The Legend of Luke Kelly - celebrating the memory and music of a true Irish Musical Legend.
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Saturday, 13th May 2023 - Saturday, 13th May 2023

The London Handel Players  ensemble The London Handel PlayersWe are thrilled to welcome the internationally renowned London Handel Players to Portico who will be performing their programme Barbaric Beauty. The London Handel Players bring together a wide selection of this rarely-heard music by composers such as Telemann, Vivaldi, Schmelzer, Purcell, Matteis…
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Sunday, 21st May 2023 - Sunday, 21st May 2023

Anne Page OrganistAnne Page Organ RecitalWe are delighted to welcome international organist and Bach specialist Anne Page to Portico. Supported by Lottery Project Funding from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland
more info

Saturday, 3rd June 2023 - Saturday, 3rd June 2023

The Ulster Consort with conductor Matthew OwensSerenade to Music: the Ulster ConsortSerenade to Music: A Celebration of British and Irish Music A celebration of British and Irish music with the Ulster Consort accompanied by organist Tristan Russcher and conducted by Matthew Owens. The Ulster Consort, which made its debut with a stellar, critically acclaimed performance of…
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Sunday, 11th June 2023 - Sunday, 11th June 2023

Music From The Movies Organ Recital with Aaron HawthorneMusic From The Movies Organ RecitalWe are delighted to welcome the award-winning organist Aaron Hawthorne to play Music From The Movies on our organ. Supported by Lottery Project Funding from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland
more info

Friday, 30th June 2023 - Friday, 30th June 2023

Kinnaris Quartet with instrumentsKinnaris QuartetUplifting, fresh music…created by three fiddles, mandolin and guitar. Expect influences of Trad Scottish & Irish, Bluegrass and Classical. Supported by Lottery Project Funding from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland
more info

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Opening Times

* See website for details of events.
Guided tours available at any time but must be pre-booked.

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