At the heart of Ardglass is one of Northern Ireland's main fishing harbours - home port to over 30 fishing vessels and main hub for Northern Ireland’s pelagic fish processing industry. While this natural deep water harbour has been used for over 3,000, years construction of the current port began in the early 19th Century. An extension was begun in the 1830s but disaster occurred in 1838 when the new pier and lighthouse felt the brunt of a storm and fell into the harbour. After many years the pier was rebuilt and was extended again in the late 20th Century. Considerable development of the harbour has taken place in recent years with the construction of a new fishmarket and delivery of new ice making plant. Ardglass also has an attractive marina with approximately 80 berths which are used by both local and visiting yachts.
Kilkeel is a very busy fishing port located in the heart of the Mourne Country on the east coast of Northern Ireland. The harbour was first started in the 1850s and a pier was built in 1868 with further improvements in 1872. The harbour has grown since then and developed until the recent introduction of pontoons for the smaller fishing boats. The harbour at Kilkeel bustles with the province's largest fleet, and is busiest during landings and in the fishmarket auction time. There are fish-processing factories, trawler repair and new build facilities dotted around the harbour.
Portavogie harbour is located on the east coast of the Ards Peninsula and derives its name from Port an Bhogaigh, which translated means 'harbour of the bog'! This busy commercial fishing port has a large fleet of trawlers which provide a fascinating sight with daily comings and goings. Portavogie is famous for its prawns and herring. A pier was built at Portavogie in 1906. This pier was not a success as it had no weather protection. A new harbour was constructed in 1955. The harbour was further developed in 1975 and 1985, doubling the size, deepening the basin, providing a market area and ice making machinery.
IceThe Authority has Ice Makers in all of its harbours.
SlipwaySlipway facilities are available in Kilkeel and Portavogie. Kilkeel has 3 slips and Portavogie has 1. At this time there are no slipway facilities in Ardglass.
Pontoon BerthsPontoons have been installed in Kilkeel and Portavogie to facilitate access to vessels by small boat owners.
Utilities"Electricity and Water is available in all three Harbours. Meters are available and cards are available from Harbour Offices during working hours.
- Eddie has been Harbour Master at Portavogie since 2012. He leads a team of 3 staff.
Eddie Robinson, Portavogie Harbour
- John Smyth has been Harbour Master in Ardglass since 1988.
John Smyth, Ardglass Harbour
- Michael Young has been Harbour Master in Kilkeel since 1999. He leads a team of 7 staff.
Michael Young, Kilkeel Harbour
Visit to Kilkeel Harbour
David Small, Deputy Secretary DAERA’s Environment, Marine and Fisheries Group visited Kilkeel Harbour on 17 May 2017 to see the infrastructure and discuss Harbour Investment with the Northern Ireland Fishery Harbour Authority.
He was accompanied by NIFHA Chief Executive Kevin Quigley who explained the work of the Authority and the range of facilities available to the fishing fleet, including the Fishmarket, Ice Plant and Slipways.