Few coastal villages in Ireland
can compare with Groomsport for scenic charm, tranquil beauty and
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, tourists 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.
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 which dates back to 1884. A bus service links the
village with Bangor which is only a few miles away.
Groomsport is a popular holiday
spot with a number of caravan parks situated around the village.
It also boasts a very active sailing club (Cockle Island Boat Club).
new attraction for the visitor in Groomsport is Cockle Row, the
old fishermen's thatched cottages which 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
[Open May to October: Contact (028) 9145 8882] 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 which are sourced almost entirely from the North Down
area. Be sure not to miss the craft demonstrations every Sunday
during July and August.