Few coastal villages in Ireland can compare with Groomsport for scenic charm, tranquil beauty and historical heritage. The heroic attempt of the 'Eagle Wing', the first ship to set sail for the New World to establish the first settlement of Ulster-Scots, is commemorated in the village's annual Eagle Wing Festival in July, a lively three-day celebration of the considerable contribution made by Ulster folk to the American way of life.
Nowadays, visitors and locals are attracted by the beautifully landscaped picnic and play areas around the harbour, the sandy beaches, quality pubs, restaurants and the picture-postcard beauty of the place. It also boasts a very active sailing club (Cockle Island Boat Club). The village, with a population of approximately 3,000, has a recreation ground with 2 football pitches, also a village hall situated in the historic boathouse at the harbour that dates back to 1884. A bus service links the village with Bangor, which is only a few miles away.
The main attraction for the visitor in Groomsport is Cockle Row, the old fishermen's thatched cottages that were officially opened in May 1997 after four months of complete refurbishment. The cottages have not lost their original charm with the heritage cottage depicting what Cockle Row would have been like around 1910. A lot of time and effort went into sourcing interior fittings and an exhibition of old photographs of Groomsport provides visitors with a time to reminisce. The second cottage is now a Tourist Information Centre and provides tourists and locals alike with information of places to visit accommodation and events in Northern Ireland. The cottage also sells a selection of crafts and souvenirs. Cockle Row is open from June to August with weekend events.
More information on Groomsport.