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Culture, People and Places

Strangford Lough’s heritage is breathtaking, a 10,000 year spectrum spanning Mesolithic flint and shell middens; prehistoric tombs; early Christian raths, medieval monasteries with their herb gardens and fishtraps;  Anglo Norman towerhouses; and magnificent 17th and 18th century estates with their mansions and exotic gardens. 

The Lough’s location, rich resources and sheltered bays with natural harbours led people to embrace a ‘maritime culture’ that , for centuries, depended on the sea for a way of living and communicating, and only faded with the coming of better land access. 

Throughout the centuries people have left a rich legacy of buildings,  monuments, agricultural practices, literature and and stories. 

"Strangford Lough: An Archaeological Survey of the Maritime Cultural Landscape." Lough" by Dr Thomas McErlean, Rosemary McConkey and Wes Forsyth, produced by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency, is one of the best references on the area. 

Today, tourism, recreation, agriculture and commercial fishing are the main industries. Environmental management and scientific research are also important. The Queen's University Marine Research Station in Portaferry brings students and lecturers from all over the world and much of the work has a basis in the Lough's extraordinary marine life and tidal currents.  The area is also noted for having a very large proportion of artists and craft people. 

Click HERE to listen to Michael Faulkner talk about some magical moments from the lough

Click the logo to watch a video about how life has changed on the lough