Turn O' The Tide

Turn O' The Tide

The SLLP's Turn O’ The Tide programme, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund , celebrates our heritage and provides new opportunities for local people to engage with their landscape, wildlife and built heritage.

The Projects

Young Sea Dogs:

Young people who live on the coast but had never interacted with it were given taster sessions paddling on Strangford Lough, in conjunction with the PSNI , Killyleagh Outdoor Education Centre and Peninsula Healthy Living. Such was the interest that it led on to further collaboration between SLLP and the PSNI in the Down Coastal Rowing initiative with lcoal communities building and rowing their own boats in events including the Narrows Challenges 2014

Literary Strangford:

Over 40 local people helped to review the area's literary connections and the result was the first Literary Lough guide and a bibliograpghy of authors  living here and / or inspired by the area.

The Literary Lough leaflet maps out the connections between authors, stories and places, from a 9th Centrury poem and Nendrum, to Michael Longley's "The Strangford Stone" (2002) and Delamont Country Park. It is illustrated by local artist , Sandra Maze. 

Many readings and events were held. Possibly the most special was a screening of the film "December Bride" at the church at the Salt Water Brig which was itself a location in the film. The event was attended by the Director, Thaddeus O' Sullivan.    

Young Archaeologists:

This project reinvigorated the Down Young Archaeologists' Club (working with Down County Museum) and resulted in  a year of activities around Strangford Lough, an exhibition, an excavation of a church site on private land and the production of a Guide to the areas archaeology. 

In addition many talks and site visits were run by the SLLP with suuport from NIEA and the Centre for Maritime Archaeology.   Special thanks go to Tom McErlean and Liam McQuillan.

The Rock Show:

The Ordnance Survey NI (now Land  & Property Services), Dr Patrick McKeever and Dr Kirsten Lemon, held local workshops on geology and landscape.

The Rock and Roll photo competition built  people's awareness of the textures and colour of the landscape and geology and provided lots of imagery for the website and publications the photos can be viewed here.

Prof Ronnie Buchanan and other local experts provided information for the resulting Landscape and Geology map and guide.

Townlands and Traditional Farm Features: 

Traditional faming has shaped this landscape but some of its distinctive features such the crafted stone pillars and iron gates have fallen into disuse and many are now ruined. SLLP is working with farmers and landowners  to restore some of these and to build appreciation of field names, townlands, lim kilns, hedgerows and other features.   

Shore Explorations:

Vast mudflats and seaweed covered boulder  are features of this area and are tremendously important for bioiversity. They have also been central to industries and their wild remoteness soothese the spirit and inspires artists. However most people  know little about them or have a very specialist interest. In this project, mud sculptures, mud rescue demonstrations, seaweed hand baths, sea weed art, shore explorations and other activities, brought members of the public, wildfowlers, emergency rescue services, artists, conservationists and landowners together to celebrate the many facets our our amazing coast.  Events were staged with the support of the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust and Queen's University Marine Research Lab in Portaferry.

Video Production:

Young people were trained by professionals in video production using the area's heritage as the main subject.  Interviewing local people and filming on location exposed the young  film makers to many aspects of the area' heritage. They also gained useful media production skills along the way. 

Town and Village Shorefront trails:

The Heritage Trails produced for Strangford and Portaferry Portaferry appear on this site as interactive maps. 

In Killyleagh we funded a DVD celebrating the area's heritage from Sir Hans Sloane to local pot fishermen. 

In Greyabbey, the last professional wildfowling family and island dwellers, walked across the sandflats to Mid Island, along with musicians and families from Greyabbey. 80 local people made the journey and there is ongoing interest in repeating this event.   

Celebrate  Strangford Lough:

This celebration has evolved into an annual event, The Strangford Lough festival, showcasing the best of the area's heritage and traditions. See the 2014 Strangford Lough Maritime Festival for a flavour of the festival.

Strangford  Lough CD:

Local peole share stories of their work their love of the area, how it has inspired them and take us on journeys encountering life on the shore, walking across family estates and the many aspects of our rich maritime traditions and heritage .  Listen to the voices of local people here. Some of the recordings have been used in the Strangford and Lecale App  - the whole collection will be downloadable from this Spring and the CDs will be distributed locally. 

Heritage App

The first heritage media App for the area is available free from the Apple i-Tune store and Google Play. Search for Strangford Lough and Lecale. Many local people who provided stories, photos, ideas for features and interviews. The App includes audio recordings and film footage. You can even send a digital postcard of the area using your phone.  

Let me at it

SLLP worked with Cloughey Community to improve access through The Warren sand dune system for people with disabilities and the developed a plan which was then implemented by Ards Borough Council who own the site.  

Mega - microscopic life  

Five unidentified floating objects raised interest – and eyebrows – on Strangford Lough when five huge, softly glowing spheres appeared in The Narrows’ . Each of the floating, transcluscent orbs held  400 reflectors, giving a total of 2,000 lights representing the  Lough's 2,000 marine specieis.  The soft glow also conjured up the sometimes phosphorescent microscopic life under the waves that are the basic food for the whole ecosystem, even the enormous basking sharks that visit from time to time.

The orbs, each three metres in diameter and made of polyurethane, were created by local artists Clare Lawson and Ngaire Jackson, of Red Apple Arts. The art installation attracted great media interest and drew broad public attention to the area's marine life . 


SLLP has worked with the Magnus Viking Association to captivate people with reenactments of viking life and battles, in the streets and public areas of Portaferry.

Turn O’ The Tide was initiated through the SLLP Advisory Committee. It is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and is also supported by Ards Borough Council, Down District Council, Environment and Heritage Service and the National Trust

The Programme was launched when Scrabo Tower was turned into a community radio station with local people contributing stories and interviews as students and staff from the South Eastern Regional College operated the station and interviewed people throughout the area. 

Turn O' The Tide is leaving behind a legacy of publications, film, activities and memories for everyone involved. Hundreds of people have been directly engaged and many thousands have benefitted and attended events.

You will find here a selection of the publications that have been produced so far.


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