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Portaferry
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Portaferry

Portaferry is a town in County Down, Northern Ireland, lying on Strangford Lough. It has an aquarium and is well-known for the annual Galway Hookers Regatta.

Portaferry is a beautiful town on the Ards Peninsula. It sits on the narrows between the Irish Sea and Strangford Lough. Portaferry’s famous sons include two brothers, the tenor Peter Tomelty and the actor and playwright Joe Tomelty. The Portaferry area is popular with local and foreign tourists for its beauty, history, wildlife and other visitor attractions. A passenger/car ferry service operates daily at 15 minute intervals (8am to 11pm) between the villages of Portaferry and Strangford conveying about 500,000 passengers per annum.

Other pursuits enjoyed in the area are angling, wildfowling and birdwatching. Strangford Lough is the largest sea inlet in the British Isles.

It is Northern Ireland's first Marine Nature Reserve and is renowned as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Special Scientific Interest, with six National Nature Reserves within its reaches. Over 2000 species of marine animals have been found in the Lough and internationally important flocks of wildfowl and wading birds converge there in Winter. The Lough is also the most important site in Ireland for breeding common seals.

Diving is an increasingly popular pastime and approximately 70 Sub-aqua clubs currently use the area throughout the year.

Commercial fishing for clams and king prawns and the farming of oysters and mussels takes place within the confines of Strangford Lough. This is supplemented by the presence in Portaferry of the Marine Biology Department of Queen's University, Belfast alongside one of the world's renowned aquariums, 'Exploris'.

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