Strangford Lough

On the way to the Mourne Mountains it is often possible to take in the “Ards Peninsula” driving to Portaferry. Either as a day tour out of Belfast , if your cruise ship is in , or as part of your tour of Ireland , consider this option.

The great expanse of Strangford Lough on Ireland’s northeast coast is almost choked off from the sea by the narrow channel at Porta ferry.  The tides rush through here with particular force, separating the tip of the long, narrow finger of the Ards Peninsula from the mainland shore.  It’s a popular for sailing and watersports.

The lake is also an important wildlife and wetland habitat, supporting colonies of seals as well as numerous seabirds on its rich mudflats, particularly waders.  Winter visitors include the distinctive pied eider ducks, and thousands of noisy Brent geese.  There’s a great diversity of marine plant – and wildlife under the water, too, and you can find out more details about htis remarkable ecosystem in the aquarium, Exploris, near the quayside at Portaferry, which is devoted to local marine life.

On the shores of Strangford Lough is Castle Ward, a mansion which clearly displays the diverse tastes of it’s 18th-century owners, Lord and Lady Bangor.  He like classical style, while she favoured Gothic.  Architecture was not all they disagreed on and eventually they separated.  Despite its bizarre disparity of styles, the house and contents are of great interest, giving a vivid impression of Victorian life see the laundry and playroom).  Within the 280ha estate are the 17th-century tower-house, a wildfowl collection and an exhibition about Strangford Lough.

We at Ireland Luxury Tours are privileged to be able to arrange private tours of Castle Ward by request.