Ardglass Ireland

Ardglass (from Irish Ard Ghlais, which means “green height”) is a coastal fishing village, townland (321 acres) and civil parish in County Down, Northern Ireland, in the historic barony of Lecale Lower. It is still a relatively important fishing port. It is located on the B1 Ardglass Road in Downpatrick, about 6 miles (11 kilometers) southeast of Downpatrick, in the Lecale Peninsula on the Irish Sea. It had 1,668 people in the 2001 census and is in the Down district council area.

The Village is a shuttle hub for workers from Downpatrick and Belfast, a resort and local service center offering housing and a variety of shops and services primarily concentrated at Castle Place, Quay Street, Kildare Street and Bath Street. A conservation area was designated at Ardglass in 1996, centered on its street configuration in the early 19th century. The village has eight archaeological sites in the area and two others nearby. There are a number of listed properties located on Castle Place, Kildare Street and The Crescent. St. Nicholas Church, the King’s Castle, Ardglass Castle, Isabella Tower, the derelict train station, the North Pier and the indoor docking station are also listed.

 

Place of interest

  • The Ardglass Marina, sometimes also known as Phennick Cove, has a capacity of about 80 boats and a deep water pool open 24 hours a day all year round. Strangford Lough lies six miles to the north.
  • Ardglass Golf Club is the local course. The Clubhouse was formerly known as Ardglass Castle and the building dates back to the 15th century. The course won an award in 2011 as the best link course in Ireland. The course record at the Ardglass Golf Club is 63.
  • Jordan’s Castle is a 15th century ruins tower and one of many in Ardglass, highlighting the city’s historic importance to the neighborhood. It can be found between Kildare and Quay Streets.
  • Isabella’s Tower, a madness built at the top of a hill by Aubrey de Vere Beauclerc in the 19th century as a gazebo for his invalid daughter.
  • Ardtole Church is a 15th century ruined church on the top of a hill overlooking the Irish Sea and the Isle of Man, 1.2 km north-east of Ardglass, on the grid of reference : J564382. 

Ardglass (from the Irish Ard Ghlais, meaning “green height”) is a coastal fishing village, an inland town (321 acres) and a civil parish in County Down, Northern Ireland, in the historic barony of Lecale Lower It is still a relatively important fishing port. It is located on the B1 road between Ardglass and Downpatrick, about 11 kilometres southeast of Downpatrick, on the Lecale Peninsula in the Irish Sea. It had a population of 1,668 in the 2001 census and is located in the Newry, Mourne and Down area.

The village is a suburban centre for workers in Downpatrick and Belfast, a seaside resort and a local service centre providing housing and a variety of shops and services largely concentrated in Castle Place, Quay Street, Kildare Street and Bath Street. A conservation area was designated in Ardglass in 1996, focusing on the layout of its streets in the early 19th century. The village has eight archaeological sites in the region and two others in the vicinity. There are a number of listed properties located on Castle Place, Kildare Street and The Crescent. The church of St. Nicholas, the king’s castle, the castle of Ardglass, the Isabella tower, the abandoned station, the north pier and the inner dock are also listed.

History

From a little known place in the 13th century, Ardglass became a modest and prosperous port in the 15th century. It was an important city and port in the Middle Ages, but no port works seem to have been built until after 1812. Then William Ogilvie, who had acquired the Ardglass estate, had a port built. Between 1845 and 1858, Captain Bernard Hughes (1790-1866), M.N., private secretary to Squire Aubrey de Vere Beauclerk (grandson of William Ogilvie) and master of the Erasmus Smith School in Ardglass, was the harbour master from 1845 to 1858. When the S.S. Great Britain ran aground in Dundrum Bay in 1846 due to a navigational error, Hughes was involved in its rescue. This led him to champion Ardglass as a “port of refuge” for ships off the northeast coast of Ireland in the event of distress. He led a tireless campaign in the local press and with the Admiralty to achieve his goal, but without success. In 1849-1851, he invented and patented the keystone method of dike construction, which consisted in setting the stones together without using mortar to allow them to expand when they were pounded by the waves. Captain Bernard Hughes’ sons included John Waring Maxwell Hughes (1816-1906), for whom to see passim, and his grandsons; Commander William Thomas Hughes (1880-1978), Chief of Staff of the RMS Mauritania, and Vice-Commander Johnstone Hughes (1866-1931) of Messrs. Dempster, who was born in Ardglass. His great-grandsons included Major General William Dillon Hughes (1900-1998), Chief of the Royal Army Medical Corps, born in Ardglass, and Air Marshal Sir Andrew Mc Kee (1903-1985), former Chief of Transport Command.

Work on the pier was completed in 1885 and it is still in service today.

Ardglass contains more medieval tower-houses than any other city in Ireland, for a total of four, reflecting its importance as Ulster’s busiest port in the 15th century. It is also probably the most extensive warehouse network of the period that remains in Ireland. They played an important role in the important trade in 14th and 15th century grain exports. Fortifications have existed in the city since the 15th century, including Jordan Castle, the largest of a ring of towers built around the port to secure the then important Anglo-Norman commercial port, the King’s Castle and Cowd Castle. Nearby are the ruins of the 15th century Ardtole church. Francis Joseph Bigger, the Irish nationalist, and sometimes a lawyer in Belfast, bought Jordan’s castle in Ardglass in the 1890s. He restored the castle, baptizing it Château Sean, a model of the Celtic awakening and made it a meeting place for his most important characters, such as Alice Stopford Green, who eventually bequeathed it to the State.

Economy

Ardglass has been a fishing port for more than two thousand years and has developed as such due to its location on the east coast of Lecale and its location on a natural cove. It has one of the few harbours accessible at all tide levels and now has two fishing docks, the north and south docks, a number of fish processing plants and a marina. Although the port is not as busy today as it was at its peak 150 years ago, up to 5 million pounds of fish are shipped through it each year. The port specializes in herring, shrimp and whitefish.

Places of interest

Ardglass Marina, sometimes also known as Phennick Cove, has a capacity of about 80 boats and a deepwater pool open 24 hours a day all year round. Strangford Lough is 6 miles north.

Ardglass Golf Club is the local course. The Clubhouse was once known as the Château d’Ardglass and the building dates back to the 15th century. The course won an award in 2011 as the best link course in Ireland. The Ardglass Golf Club course record is 63.

Jordan Castle is a 15th century tower in ruins and one of many towers in Ardglass, highlighting the city’s historical importance in the life of the district. It is located between Kildare and Quay streets.

La Tour d’Isabelle, a madness built on top of a hill by Aubrey de Vere Beauclerc in the 19th century as a gazebo for his disabled daughter.

The Church of Ardtole is a 15th century ruined church located on a hill overlooking the Irish Sea and the Isle of Man, 1.2 km northeast of Ardglass, at the gate ref: J564382.