Historic houses and castles

Donaghadee - Harbour & Lighthouse

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Contact details


Ards Visitor Information Centre 31 Regent Street, Newtownards, County Down,
T: (028) 9182 6846
F: (028) 9182 6681
E: ardsvic@ardsandnorthdown.gov.uk

The historic harbour town of Donaghadee is situated on the Irish Sea coast of the Ards Peninsula.

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 can enjoy spectacular views across the Irish Sea, where on a clear day you can see all the way to Scotland, only 20 miles away by sea. It was the province’s principle port before Belfast developed. The Harbour was built in 1820's to the design of John Rennie and is part built of limestone from Wales known as "Anglesea marble". On the harbour is Donaghadee's impressive lighthouse, which was built in 1836 and was the first lighthouse in Ireland to be lit by electricity. Donaghadee Lighthouse is not open to the public.

Donaghadee is the home of the famous lifeboat station which played such a important role in rescuing survivors of the MV Princess Victoria in 1953.

One of the most prominent features of the town is a large Motte or Rath, 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.

Visitors can also enjoy scenic walks, including the marine walk at The Commons, a 16 acre semi-cultivated open space with bowls, tennis, putting and an adventure playground (seasonal opening).

Further information on the town is also available at www.visitdonaghadee.com