Historic and heritage walks

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Donaghadee - Harbour & Lighthouse

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Contact details


Ards Tourist Information Centre 31 Regent Street, Newtownards, Co. Down,
T: (028) 9182 6846
F: (028) 9182 6681
E: tourism@ards-council.gov.uk

Donaghadee is situated on the Ards Peninsula, approximately seven miles north east of ...

Donaghadee is situated on the Ards Peninsula, approximately seven miles north east of Newtownards, on the Irish Sea coast.

The town boasts a long seagoing history, therefore it is not surprising that it still maintains a special relationship with the sea, proving very popular with water enthusiasts, anglers and those who simply like to be beside the seaside. There are a wide variety of cafes and restaurants and unique independent retailers.

From Donaghadee visitors have the opportunity to enjoy spectacular views across the Irish Sea, where on a clear day you can see all the way to Scotland.

In the harbour is Donaghadee's impressive lighthouse, which was built in 1836 and was the first lighthouse in Ireland to be lit by electricity. One of the most prominent features of the town is the Motte, or the Moat as it is known. The moat dates back to 1818, when it was used to house explosives used in the construction of the harbour. Today it is part of an attractive little park, giving views across the town and seawards towards the Copeland Islands. Further information on the town is also available at www.visitdonaghadee.com

Visitors can also enjoy a number of scenic walks, including the marine walk at The Commons, which comprises a 16 acre semi-cultivated open space with bowls, tennis, putting and an adventure playground (seasonal opening). There is also an aire de service available which enables users to stop overnight. Tokens are available at The Commons or from Centra. Moat Street or Pier 36, The Parade in the town.

Download the Donaghadee Heritage Walking Guide for more information on this historic area and further suggested walks.

The closest port in Northern Ireland to Scotland, only 20 miles away by sea. Formerly the province’s principle port before Belfast developed; the Harbour was built in 1626 to the design of Rennie with its magnificent Lighthouse. One of the most prominent features of the town is a large Motte or Rath. The construction of the Motte, or Moat as it is known locally, is generally attributed to Norman invaders. The castellated stone building now on the summit of the moat was built in 1818 as an explosives store during the building of the new harbour but has no historical connection with the earthworks. Donaghadee is the home of the famous lifeboat station and there are excellent recreational facilities available to all. Donaghadee Lighthouse is not open to the public.