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Easterly Storm Damage at Annalong Harbour, Ulster's Last Schooner Port

7th February 2021
Annalong Harbour's North Pier - the Grade 2 listed structure is in need of restoration Annalong Harbour's North Pier - the Grade 2 listed structure is in need of restoration Credit: BBC NI

Annalong Harbour lies on the South Down coast with the Mourne Mountains' stunning backdrop and was famous as a centre of the herring industry. As reported by BBC News, it was also an export point for the famous Mourne Granite and potatoes, but now the Grade 2 listed structure is in dire need of restoration.

The name, from the Irish Áth na Long, means Ford of the Ships. It was the last schooner port in Ulster and had an entrance which was most hazardous for sailing ships.

The harbour was built in the early 1800s. It was inspected a few years ago, and the Newry, Mourne and Down District Council felt there was no risk of the walls falling, but since then the pier has deteriorated, and some stone has had to be removed.

Annalong Harbour: Photo BBCAnnalong Harbour Photo: BBC NI

Last weekend's easterly storm affected the harbour structure, and the north pier began to collapse.

Costing an estimated £150,000 the work will take up to two months to complete.

Some years after it was built the harbour was enlarged to receive schooners carrying granite for export to English cities and imported materials to build the nearby Silent Valley reservoir. The latter was transported on a purpose-built standard gauge railway. In recent years the harbour was deepened, and a pontoon added to allow small fishing boats and leisure craft easier docking.

According to the BBC NI, there were more than 100 small herring boats fishing out of Annalong and the more southern port of Kilkeel, but today there is just a handful.

Restoration will, as the BBC reports, begin next week.

Betty Armstrong

About The Author

Betty Armstrong

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Betty Armstrong is Afloat and Yachting Life's Northern Ireland Correspondent. Betty grew up racing dinghies but now sails a more sedate Dehler 36 around County Down.

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