Sunday, 2 October 2011

Loughries Bus Trip - Ards Peninsula

Part 1 Loughries Ulster Scots Mini Festival - funded by Ards Borough Council.

On Saturday 1st October 2011, Loughries Ulster Scots 'A Forenoon Doon the Upper Ards' trip took place as planned - it was very, very, wet all morning!

A full bus of 31 hearty folk including our bus driver (Dessie) and tour guide (Mark) braved the appalling weather. We met as planned, at Conway Square Newtownards 0900 am and made our way down the Peninsula.

First stop was Kircubbin - to the green where Rev. Archibald Warwick was hanged for his part in the 1798 rebellion. We moved on to Ardquin Abbacy - an old ruin where King James I visited to authorise a land deal with local land owners including James Hamilton & Hugh Montgomery. It was then onto Portaferry Castle.

Following light refreshments at Portaferry Hotel we moved on to Newcastle - a townland outside Cloughey, where Sir Thomas Smith landed at a small harbour in August 1572 - then onto Kirkistown Castle.

We made 3 x stops - Portaferry - Newcastle - Kirkistown and visited three very important historical sites. Sadly the rain lashed down all morning and most if not all the folks were soaked at least once, some twice and a few 3 times!

Our tour guide Mr. Mark Thompson entertained us with many, many fascinating facts and stories from the local area, including some of the characters involved. Also were treated to some authentic Ulster Scots poems and songs – Brilliant!

I can say that the weather however how bad did not dampen our spirits or resolve, it was a great adventure and was enjoyed by everyone who attended.

Below are a few snaps of the trip thanks to Laura Spence and Bobby Magreechan for allowing me to use a few of their photo’s – I hope to post a few more in the coming days.


Folks entering Portaferry Castle

On the old harbour / lighthouse keepers cottages - Mark T explaining some historical information

Lighthouse Keepers Cottage - old Harbour (Thomas Smith 1572)

Enjoying light refreshments at Portaferry Hotel

Bobby, Peter, Alison and me - very, very wet at Kirkistown Castle

Mark T and George Mawhinney (soaked) in Portaferry Castle

Most of the folk who attended the trip - getting some shelter from the rain!

Tour going into Kirkistown Castle.

Last man out please close the gate! - a very wet Mark Thompson leaving Kirkistown Castle


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