Thursday, 29 June 2017


Driving north from Killard Point along the road known as Shore Road the route more or less hugs the shore of Strangford Lough, offering lovely views of this large body of water.  At the point where Shore Road joints the A2 is Kilclief Castle, a tower-house castle built in the first half of the 15th century by Bishop of Down John Sely.  However, the Bishop’s residency at the castle came to an ignominious end when he was ejected and stripped of his office for living with a married woman.

Strangford village is located at the mouth of the main part of Strangord Lough.  The name derives from the name given to the inlet by the Vikings: “Strang Fjörthr” meaning “Strong Fjord”.  The first notable building you will come across at this end of the village is the romantically named “St Mary Star of the Sea Church”, built on land donated by Lord Henry Fitzgerald.  Sadly, the church was badly damaged by fire in 1930, but it was rebuilt as the Stella Maris Church, although it is still shown on maps with the original name.  From the attractive waterfront in the centre of the village there is access to a car ferry service to Portaferry on the opposite shore of the lough.

Strangford lies on a small peninsula to the east of an 'inlet-within-an-inlet', and on the other side of this inlet are a couple of further places of interest.  Like Kilclief Castle, Audley's Castle is another 15th century tower house named after one of its owners, John Audley.  The castle along with the adjoining Audley's Field were used in the filming of Game of Thrones.  A short distance from the shore is the National Trust owned Castle Ward, a somewhat misleading name as it is actually an 18th century mansion.  This was also used in Game of Thrones, in which the historic farmyard featured as Winterfell, the backdrop for the series pilot.

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Strangford harbour front. Photo by Rogere, via Wikimedia Commons

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