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Historical Ulster: Ardglass

By Paul Carson

One hundred years ago it would have been a familiar scene: dozens of 'gutters' handling the herring catch on the harbour at Ardglass.

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The sheltered deep-sea inlet of Ardglass grew into a fishing port to the point where some four or five hundred sail powered craft habitually crowded into the harbour (many from as far away as the east coast of Scotland) fishing during the summer months for herring - the 'silver darlings' of the Irish Sea - and in the winter for whiting and cod.

Today the picture is a very different one. The 'gutters' have gone; no longer do hundreds of herring barrels stand along the quayside. State-of-the-art trawlers ply in and out of the well modernised harbour.

The leviathains of the deep go to sea with all mod-cons. Over the years herring festivals have been a major feature in the port of Ardglass which claims to have had the first singing pub in Northern Ireland, the first piano breaking contest and the first trawler race.

Our images hopefully reflect a slice of this daily lifestyle of the harbour village in the past decades.

Belfast Telegraph


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