Things To Do
The Exploris Aquarium, Portaferry
The Northern Ireland Aquarium was opened in 1987 to enable the public to view the amazingly diverse marine life that exists around these islands. The conservation village of Portaferry was the ideal location. It is sited on the shores of the Marine Nature reserve of Strangford Lough which contains nearly three quarters of all the marine species to be found in Northern Irish waters.
Portaferry/Strangford Ferry Service
There has been a ferry service between Portaferry and Strangford, without a break, for almost four centuries. The alternative road journey is 75 kilometres and takes about an hour and a half, while the ferry crosses the 0.6 nautical miles (1.1 km) in 8 minutes. A new £2.7 million vessel, MV Portaferry II, built by McTay Marine of Merseyside, came into service on 18 December 2001, relegating the earlier vessel, MV Strangford to a support role.
St Patrick Centre, Downpatrick
The Centre is an exciting interpretative exhibition which tells the fascinating story of Ireland's Patron Saint. Through Patrick's own words a light is shone on the arrival of Christianity in Ireland and its development through his mission. A series of interactive displays allow visitors to explore how Patrick's legacy developed in early Christian times and reveal the fabulous artwork and metalwork which was produced during this Golden Age. Only 15 minutes by car from Strangford (Strangford is a short 8 minute ferry crossing from Portaferry).
A granite mountain range in County Down in the south-east of Northern Ireland which includes the highest mountains in Northern Ireland and the province of Ulster. The highest of these is Slieve Donard at 850 metres (2,790 ft). The Mournes is an area of outstanding natural beauty and has been proposed as the first national park in Northern Ireland. The area is partly owned by the National Trust and sees a large number of visitors every year. The Mournes are only a 30 minute drive from Strangford (Strangford is a short 8 minute ferry crossing from Portaferry).
Mountstewart House, c 15 miles
Castle Ward House, c 3 miles
Rowallane Gardens, c 25 miles
Ballyquinton Farm, c 1 mile
Kearney village, c 3 miles
Other Visitor/Historic sites
The Somme Heritage Centre Bangor Rd, Newtownards, c 22 miles
North Down Heritage Centre Bangor, c 25 miles
Ulster Folk and Transport Museum Cultr,a c 28miles
Christian Heritage around Strangford Lough
Nendrum Abbey c 25 miles; Downpatrick Cathedral St Patrick’s Grave c10 miles;
St Patrick Centre at Downpatrick c 10 miles; Saul St Patrick’s first church c 6 miles;
Greyabbey c15 miles; Movilla Abbey, Newtownards c 21 miles;
Old Priory, Newtownards c 21 miles; Inch Abbey, Downpatrick, c12 miles;
Derry Churches, Portaferry c 4 miles; St Cowey’s Wells c1/2 miles;
Down County Museum Downpatrick c 10miles.
Click here for a full list of all historic places
Advanced booking is necessary
Kirkistown c 8 miles
Donaghadee c 25 miles
Scrabo c 21 miles
Bangor c 22miles
Downpatrick c 10 miles
Ringhaddy c 15 miles
Mahee Island c 25 miles
Ardminnan 9 holes c 3 miles
Ardglass c 15 miles
Royal County Down at Newcastle 30 miles
Sea fishing [ must be booked]
John Murray Portaferry on St Brendan
Des Rodgers Portaferry on Cuan Shore
Lough Cowey [trout and coarse ]
Sea Trout fishing around Lough shore and by boat
Quoile estuary/pondage for coarse/sea fish
Winter watching around Strangford Lough Brent geese
All types of waders
Castle Espie WWT www.wwt.org.uk
Further afield Mourne Mountains and Silent Valley
Distances from Barr Hall Barns Cottages:
· 31 miles from Belfast City Airport
· 31 miles from Belfast ferry port
· 50 miles from Belfast International Airport
· 120 miles from Dublin City and Airport.
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