Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Have a hoot with history at Groomsport harbour

GROOMSPORT has been developing its Ulster-Scots heritage over the past few years and the theme is at the heart of the summer entertainment in the village this year.

The Ulster-Scots Agency and North Down Borough Council have teamed up for a feast of traditional Ulster-Scots entertainment centred on Cockle Row Cottages, beside Groomsport Harbour.

The programme begins on Saturday, July 6, with music and dance, and then each Sunday, through July and August, there will be a mix of traditional Ulster-Scots music, dancing, pipers and baking. The first weekend in September will see the season close with an Ulster-Scots / Eagle Wing finale including music, dancing, children's entertainment, baking and period re-enactors.

Groomsport's Ulster-Scots connections date back to the settlements of Sir James Hamilton at the turn of the 17th Century. During this early period Groomsport became known as a busy working port with ships passing back and forth from Scotland for both legal and illegal trade!

Groomsport was also where the ship Eagle Wing departed. The ship built to carry Presbyterian settlers to America at the time when they were suffering persecution in Ulster.

On 9 September 1636, 140 passengers departed for the "New World". The voyage however came to an end with fierce storms off Newfoundland, forcing its return on 3 November 1636 and dropping anchor in Carrickfergus.

The settlements as a whole saw hundreds immigrate to these lands, their influence largely responsible for shaping Ulster as we know it today.

Cockle Row Cottages are open weekends in May then daily from 1 June, 11am– 5pm with free family entertainment each weekend from 2pm-4pm.

In addition to the Ulster-Scots content the programme features children's entertainment including face painting, magic shows, animal road shows, along with music and craft fairs to name a few.

For further information contact Bangor Tourist Information Centre 028 9127 0069, email tic@northdown.gov.uk or visit www.northdowntourism.com

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