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, 1st March 2024 - Friday, 1st March 2024

Piano Peace with Ruth McGinley pianistFeel Good Festival: Piano Peace with Ruth McGinleyConcert pianist Ruth McGinley plays Einaudi and Sakamoto in the amazing acoustics of our grade A listed architecture, all swathed in the soft glow of candlelight. Carefully chosen for their creation of calm and bliss, you will recognise familiar pieces such as Sakamoto's 'Merry Christmas, Mr…
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Saturday, 2nd March 2024 - Saturday, 2nd March 2024

Sanctuary with Christian Foreshaw - Sax, organ and choral voicesFeel Good Festival: Choral Sanctuary with Christian ForshawA candlelit concert of beautiful choral voices celebrating the 20 year anniversary of Christian Forshaw's much lauded album 'Sanctuary'. Supported by Lottery Project Funding from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland
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Sunday, 3rd March 2024 - Sunday, 3rd March 2024

Come On and Sing, Get Happy!Feel Good Festival: Come On and Sing, Get Happy!Sing uplifting Harmony songs with charismatic community Choir Leader Una McCann. Guaranteed to make you feel good!
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Friday, 8th March 2024 - Friday, 8th March 2024

Dynamic Organ Multi-sensory ExperienceFeel Good Festival: D.O.M.E.D.O.M.E. (Dynamic Organ Multi-sensory Experience). Ready to experience Portico in a new way? Experimental musicians Son Zept and Xenia Pestova Bennett transform Portico's church into an immersive multi-sensory dome, blurring past, present and future by combining the venue's iconic pipe organ with…
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Saturday, 9th March 2024 - Saturday, 9th March 2024

Daft Punk Tribute International DJ ActFeel Good Festival: Daft Punk TributeImmerse yourself in an incredible performance of a fully live authentic DJ mix with the internationally recognised Daft Punk Tribute. With intelligent laser lighting and dancing in the aisles, we're gonna celebrate - One More Time! Supported by Ards and North Down Borough Council
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Sunday, 10th March 2024 - Sunday, 10th March 2024

Feel Good Festival pew bathing sound healing spaFeel Good Festival: Pew Bathing Sound Spa - second sessionKick off your shoes, lie on cushioned pews or mats and sink into a sumptuous Sound Healing Spa Supported by Ards and North Down Borough Council
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Sunday, 10th March 2024 - Sunday, 10th March 2024

Pew bathing sound spa healing experienceSOLD OUT: Feel Good Festival: Pew-bathing Sound SpaKick off your shoes, lie on cushioned pews or mats and sink into a sumptuous Sound Healing Spa all within the beautifully restored heritage venue of Portico. Sonic artist Tessa Ann blends Tibetan singing bowls, crystal glass, voice, instruments and projections to soothe your soul and lift the…
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Saturday, 16th March 2024 - Saturday, 16th March 2024

Opera Collective IrelandOpera Collective Ireland: The Walk From The Garden by Jonathan Dove - CancelledWe are thrilled to welcome Opera Collective Ireland with the Fews Ensemble of Newry Chamber Music to present this beautiful opera by Jonathan Dove. The concert will begin with a string quartet performance of 'Togetherness', also by Jonathan Dove, lasting around 25 mins. Following an interval, the…
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Sunday, 17th March 2024 - Sunday, 17th March 2024

Traditional Irish music group RealtaRéaltaTraditional Irish music by Réalta is joyous, energetic, foot-stomping, unforgettable and unmissable! Réalta, the dynamic Ulster-based Irish traditional group, have delivered their eagerly anticipated third studio album, Thing Of The Earth. The band have joined forces with acclaimed Belfast singer…
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Saturday, 23rd March 2024 - Saturday, 23rd March 2024

Peter Corry  West End StarSinging Workshop with Peter CorryLove to sing? Peter Corry, star of the West End, has kindly agreed to deliver a two-hour singing workshop for anyone of any ability to come along and get some tips on how to improve their performance. Places are limited so book early to avoid disappointment! Supported by Lottery Project Funding…
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Saturday, 23rd March 2024 - Saturday, 23rd March 2024

Peter Corry in concertThank You For The Musicals With Peter CorryExperience the magic of musicals with Peter Corry's show "Thank you for the Musicals". A night of songs from our favourite shows, both past and present. Including Les Misérables, Hamilton, Wicked, Six, The Phantom of the Opera, Moulin Rouge, and Mamma Mia! to name but a few.
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Saturday, 30th March 2024 - Saturday, 30th March 2024

Ciaran Bartlett standup comedianCiaran Bartlett: Giant - Sold outBringing his arena-filling set to a venue near you! Hot on the heels of two sold-out SSE Arena dates Belfast comedian Ciarán Bartlett announces Regional Tour GIANT set for stages across NI in March 2024! A show not to be missed!
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Monday, 1st April 2024 - Monday, 1st April 2024

Joe the Magician show  It's Magic Joe the MagicianJoe's back! If you came last year you'll know he really did make tables fly and even made it snow! Don't miss this brilliant magician! The show fuses magic, music, special effects and illusion that will bring kids (and grown-ups!) on an unforgettable journey. Supported by Ards and North Down…
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Saturday, 6th April 2024 - Saturday, 6th April 2024

JP Mac and Karen Martin Cash Returns Live Tribute ShowCash ReturnsThe multi-award winning Johnny Cash & June Carter tribute - Cash Returns - returns! ​'CASH RETURNS' - has been hailed hands down, the greatest and most exciting Johnny Cash & June Carter Tribute in the UK, Ireland and beyond by Man In Black fans everywhere.
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Sunday, 7th April 2024 - Sunday, 7th April 2024

Chamber Choir Ireland QuartetChamber Choir Ireland QuartetGet ready to be transported to a world of pure vocal magic as this talented quartet takes the stage. Chamber Choir Ireland presents a small, yet perfectly formed, quartet of part-songs and miniatures, spanning the centuries. Supported by Lottery Project Funding from the Arts Council of Northern…
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Friday, 12th April 2024 - Friday, 12th April 2024

The Breeze musiciansTHE BREEZEGet ready to experience the ultimate in new music with THE BREEZE, where music with pedigree is guaranteed! We are thrilled to welcome THE BREEZE to Portico hot on the heels of their first album launch scheduled for 29 March 2024. Supported by Ards & North Down Borough Council
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Sunday, 14th April 2024 - Sunday, 14th April 2024

Eduardo Martín  &  Ahmed Dickinson guitaristsThe Bridge: Ahmed Dickinson Cardenas and Eduardo MartinThe Bridge is Cuba's most internationally acclaimed guitar duo. With astounding performances last year we just had to bring them back! With their musical empathy, Eduardo Martín and Ahmed Dickinson transform their concerts into a vehicle that connects, incorporates and juxtaposes their different…
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Friday, 19th April 2024 - Friday, 19th April 2024

Kammer Philharmonie Europa in concertKammer Philharmonie EuropaWe are delighted to welcome back this wonderful European chamber orchestra. Founded in 2006 by Leonid Tritus, the Kammerphilharmonie Europa is an orchestra of talented young musicians from 18 countries, nine of which (seven strings, oboe and trumpet) are coming on this tour to the UK. Supported…
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Saturday, 20th April 2024 - Saturday, 20th April 2024

Paddy McDonnell Comedian second night addedPaddy McDonnell: Stories SECOND NIGHT!Second night added - get in quick!
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Saturday, 27th April 2024 - Saturday, 27th April 2024

The Legend of Luke KellyThe Legend of Luke Kelly - April 2024After a sold out performance in 2023, the Legend of Luke Kelly is back! Book early! The Legend of Luke Kelly is an authentic show celebrating the life and songs of Ireland's most iconic and greatest folk singer. Created and performed by the renowned Chris Kavanagh the show is not a tribute but a…
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Friday, 3rd May 2024 - Friday, 3rd May 2024

Comedian Paddy RaffPaddy Raff: Gimme A Minute! - Sold outAward-winning Northern Irish comedy sensation Paddy Raff is back on tour taking his brand new hilarious standup show 'Gimme a Minute!' on the road in 2024. Tickets go on sale at 10am on Friday 29 Sept.
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Monday, 6th May 2024 - Monday, 6th May 2024

Peter Holder OrganistOrgan Recital: Peter HolderPeter Holder is Sub-Organist of Westminster Abbey and has played at many state occasions. Peter has held the post of Sub-Organist of Westminster Abbey since October 2017. He is the principal organist for the Abbey's daily services and at state occasions, and accompanies the Abbey Choir in its…
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Saturday, 11th May 2024 - Saturday, 11th May 2024

Amanda Lane  as Tina Turner  Tribute ActProud Mary and her City Limits bandSimply the best tribute to Tina Turner! Amanda Lane as Tina Turner and her City Limits band are Ireland's no 1 Tribute to the Queen of Rock.
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Sunday, 12th May 2024 - Sunday, 12th May 2024

Sarah Beth Briggs concert pianistSarah Beth BriggsWe are thrilled to welcome international concert pianist Sarah Beth Briggs - "an artist of extraordinary magnetism" Daily Telegraph. Sarah is a celebrated artist at societies and festivals throughout the UK, acclaimed by promoters and critics for her performances and for her engaging and…
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Friday, 17th May 2024 - Friday, 17th May 2024

4 in a Bar Barbershop Quartet4 in a BarThe award-winning barbershop quartet 4 in a Bar is back with a selection of Irish favourites from the 13th to 21st centuries! 4 in a Bar is Ireland's leading vocal harmony and barbershop quartet singing traditional, classical, pop and barbershop music. Members of the Irish Association of…
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Friday, 24th May 2024 - Friday, 24th May 2024

Jarlath Regan stand -up comedianJarlath Regan: Yer ManFollowing millions of downloads and views on Youtube, TikTok and Instagram Jarlath Regan's epic new standup comedy show "Yer Man" arrives! This show has sold out every single date of his tour so grab your tickets while you can.
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Saturday, 1st June 2024 - Saturday, 1st June 2024

Legends of American Country Tribute ConcertLegends of American CountryNow seen by over 350,000 fans live and watched by millions on TV Europe's No.1 multi award winning show "The Legends of American Country". The 2024 tour will showcase highly acclaimed tributes to Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash, Don Williams, Patsy Cline, Charley Pride, Tammy Wynette and Kenny Rogers…
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Friday, 7th June 2024 - Friday, 7th June 2024

The Shamrock Tenors in concertThe Shamrock TenorsFeaturing performers from both sides of the community in Northern Ireland, with vocalists from London's West End, the country's best multi-instrumentalists and a champion Irish dancer, The Shamrock Tenors show takes you on a journey through Ireland's most beloved classic songs, in beautiful five…
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Saturday, 22nd June 2024 - Saturday, 22nd June 2024

The Mikado  performed by Opera AnywhereThe MikadoWith a twist on the Gilbert and Sullivan classic, Opera Anywhere's new version of The Mikado is set in Rome. Directed by Tristan Stocks, Opera Anywhere's ingenious new production, "The Emperor of Rome" – is a sparklingly clever story with twists and turns at every scene. Supported by Lottery…
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Saturday, 29th June 2024 - Saturday, 29th June 2024

Soul Devotion motown tributeSoul DevotionLove Motown and Soul? This is the night to celebrate The Supremes, Diana Ross, Whitney Houston, Gladys Knight and Barry White!
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Monday, 15th July 2024 - Monday, 15th July 2024

Dragaoke with Lady PortiaDragaoke with Lady PortiaShe's back and ready for you to get up on that stage and shine - if you dare! Presented in association with Portaferry Gala, this is karaoke with a difference - it's hosted by the utterly fabulous Lady Portia Di' Monte! Supported by Ards and North Down Borough Council
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Saturday, 3rd August 2024 - Saturday, 3rd August 2024

Elvis Spectacular starring Ciaran HoulihanElvis SpectacularReady to rock?
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Monday, 5th August 2024 - Friday, 9th August 2024

Rock School JuniorsRock School - JuniorsRock School is back! Now who wants to be a rock star? Rock School delivered by Ossia Music School Rock School Juniors is for 7-11 year olds and will take place from 10am to 12.30pm Monday to Friday. Supported by a Rural Engagement Arts Programme grant from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.
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Monday, 5th August 2024 - Friday, 9th August 2024

Rock School SeniorsRock School - SeniorsRock School is back! Now who wants to be a rock star? Rock School delivered by Ossia Music School Rock School Seniors is for 12-16 year olds and runs 1pm to 4pm Monday to Friday. Supported by a Rural Engagement Arts Programme grant from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.
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Saturday, 7th September 2024 - Saturday, 7th September 2024

Georgina Richmond tribute to country divasPatsy Cline and the Country DivasPrepare to be dazzled by a sensational tribute to the iconic stars of Country music, now with live band! Featuring tributes to Patsy Cline, Tammy Wynette, Tom Jones, Neil Diamond & Joe Dolan. Keepin' it Country!
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Friday, 27th September 2024 - Friday, 27th September 2024

Paddy Raff Gimme A Minute TourPaddy Raff: Gimme A Minute SECOND NIGHTHe sold out VERY fast on the first night so if you want in... BE QUICK!
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Opening Times

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

What's Nearby

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  6. On the coast, two thirds of a mile south east of Cloughey village. This house appears to…

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  7. Traditionally believed to have been built by Roland Savage of Ballygalget in 1622,…

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  11. Burr Point, the most easterly point on the island.

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  12. Nendrum is thought to have been set up by St Machaoi in the 5th Century and also has…

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