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The Vikings Have Landed For the Strangford Lough Festival
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TTHE Strangford Lough Maritime Festival this weekend ( 1-2 June) promises to provide something for all the family.

You will experience ferocious Viking battles and their medieval market and enjoy relaxing trips on a traditional wooden boat that takes in Strangford Loughs spectacular natural and built heritage. Learn how for over a hundred years Portaferry was at the forefront of the regions shipbuilding industry with the ships captained by local master mariners sailing all over the world.

Vikings will be showing of their battle skills as well as their more domestic side in Strangford and Portaferry this weekend (!-2 June).

Vikings will be showing of their battle skills as well as their more domestic side in Strangford and Portaferry this weekend (1-2 June).

Strangford Green will host some of our most talented local crafters who will be displaying a range of local crafts, ranging from textiles and jewellery to felt work and weaving and on Saturday you can meet the Man at Arms protecting Strangford Castle before he moves to the Tower House in Portaferry on Sunday.

The festival is being hosted in the historic settlements of Portaferry and Strangford and almost all of the events being offered at the festival are ABSOLUTELY FREE!

Commenting on the festival, Down District Council Chairperson, Councillor Mickey Coogan, said: “This festival is a great celebration of Strangford and Lecale’s rich maritime heritage and is sure to become a much loved event in the district’s calendar. The festival program has been designed to be a true community affair with something for everyone including a medieval street market, Viking long ships, guided seal watch, boat tours, craft workshops, local cuisine, crafts stalls, exhibitions, talks and music. Down District Council is proud to support this event and would like to thank, the many sponsors, organisers and volunteers who have either contributed financially or in kind.”

Visitors’ young and old alike will also be able to try out a Sailing Taster Session, when they can try their hand at sailing under the guidance of expert instructors.

A favourite from past events has been the Open Day at the Queens University Marine Laboratory in Portaferry. This year, on Saturday 1 June, the scientists will once again throw open their doors where there will be sea creatures to touch and see under a microscope and experience the big waves in the enormous sea tanks

Mayor of Ards, Alderman Hamilton Gregory, said: “The Council is delighted to be part of such a fantastic event which celebrates Strangford Lough and Lecale’s ancient and modern maritime traditions showcasing the area’s world renowned wildlife and stunning landscape to both local visitors and tourists from further afield. I would encourage families to come along, join in the festivities, and learn about local history with this year’s reconstructed Viking medieval street market and long ships offering a truly captivating and fun learning experience!”

With walks, talks, exhibitions, live music and street entertainers throughout the weekend a visit to the Strangford Lough Maritime festival is a must for all the family.

Bernard Roddy from the Strangford Lough and Lecale Partnership, added, “We are delighted to be able to showcase this stunning area through the festival and share with visitors the rich heritage and natural beauty we are surrounded by on a daily basis. Visitors can be assured of a warm welcome to both villages and the proximity of the two settlements means that anyone attending the festival can enjoy the events at both locations as they are only separated by an eight minute trip on the ferry across the amazing stretch of water known as the Narrows.”

For up to date information on all of the events please visit www.strangfordlough.org or pick up a programme at your local tourist information centre.

To book boat trips or Viking storytelling please contact the Strangford lough and Lecale Partnership: Tel: 028 427 28886 / 29005 or email:

[email protected]

NEWS UPDATE _ 17.15pm Thursday 30 May 2013

Strangford Lough Maritime Festival update

A huge 20m wave tank, underwater gardens of colourful sea creatures, a baby seaweed hatchery and loads of science gadgets and diving equipment are just some of the things on show when Queen’s University Marine Research Laboratory opens its doors to the public on Saturday 1 June and Sunday 2 June as part of the Strangford Lough Maritime Festival.  This is a rare opportunity to see behind the scenes and get a glimpse of science in action within our marine environment.

The laboratories and open air facilities stretch across a large site with the main building overlooking the stunningly beautiful Narrows of Strangford Lough.   Queen’s University researchers from many different parts of the globe will be sharing their enthusiasm for marine science.

The event will appeal to everyone whether they have a science background or not.  It is also a chance for young people who are considering their careers, to get a feel for what marine science is about and the many activities associated with it: from scientific diving and growing seaweed for biofuels to studying wave and tidal energy and working with mini beasties.

The Sunday Queen’s University event is a late addition to the Festival Programme in response to the tremendous interest that has been shown.

Another addition to the Programme is a presentation on Irish whales and dolphins from Ian Enlander of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Society (Sunday 2 June, 12-1pm, The Castle Yard, Portaferry).

The National Trust Heritage and EnAlgae boat trips are filling fast, so book now if you want to be sure of a place.

The Viking Smorgasbord and Rhythm and Blues at the Portaferry Hotel, as part of the Strangford Lough Maritime Festival, on Saturday 1 June is a fantastic deal at just £22 :  book through the Portaferry Hotel, 028 42728231.