Brian writes for Cottage Life on his and Margaret’s day off. Enjoy!
Last Friday we managed to escape the B&B for a short break. It was a much anticipated day off after a busy summer at Lismaine Cottage. We were meeting a friend of Margaret’s to go on a guided walk at Kearney along the shore line of the Ards Peninsula, organised by a lady in Cloughy as part of a new venture highlighting the geology and rich history of the area.
Kearney is a small village/clachan owned by the National Trust, and it alone is worth a visit. The village was thrust into the limelight recently thanks to the BBC production “My Mother and Other Strangers”, a great wee show that highlighted the impact of the American GIs on traditional country life during the Second World War. Brigid, our tour guide, took us out for an hour and a half walk taking in the geological features of the area, explaining about the formation of drumlins (small rolling hills) and raised shale beaches. Brigid managed to weave this together with local history, recalling stories of smuggling and shipwrecks along the coast. We found it fascinating that Portaferry had been a departure point for Irish immigrants heading to America in the mid 18th Century. Photographs and maps were produced to add to the experience, giving context to the history.
It was a great afternoon out along the Ards Peninsula, and we were inspired to continue on our own sightseeing tour. We visited St Cooey’s Well, an ancient pilgrimage site, then on to the end of the peninsula to Ballyquintin Point. The Point is also owned by the National Trust, and has great views across the mouth of Strangford Lough to the Mourne Mountains in the distance.
Brigid is an inspiring guide, and is very knowledgeable and enthusiastic, so if you’re ever in the area, look up the Ards Peninsula Tours Facebook page. You won’t be disappointed. And if you’re exploring the highlights of Northern Ireland, Lismaine Cottage provides the perfect base for touring around.