The Vikings are Coming!

Monday 7th February 2022

Supported by Tourism NI, Ards and North Down Borough Council and Newry Mourne and Down District Council are excited to launch the Strangford Lough Viking Festival being held this March…

The Viking Festival will take place in Portaferry and Strangford

Supported by Tourism NI, Ards and North Down Borough Council and Newry Mourne and Down District Council are excited to launch the Strangford Lough Viking Festival being held this March.
Ainsley McWilliams, Regions Manager at Tourism NI, said:

“We are delighted to support this exciting new festival which will explore the Viking links within Strangford Lough as well as showcase a wide range of authentic experiences and entertainment suitable for everyone. Events like this are crucial to our local economy and help boost the profile of tourism in Northern Ireland. I have no doubt that the addition of the Strangford Lough Viking Festival to the festival programme for 2022 will create new and exciting reasons to visit Portaferry and Strangford.”

With the main activity taking place in Portaferry and Strangford, from Thursday 24 - Sunday 27 March, the festival will highlight the strong Viking links rooted within Strangford Lough and showcase a wide range of experiences and entertainment for all ages.

Portaferry and Strangford will see Viking camps, open 10am-4pm Saturday and Sunday, with re-enactors telling the Viking story and showing how they lived in the area more than a thousand years ago. They will also be displaying their full-sized replica long ships both on land and water, with sailors from the “Vikings” TV series discussing their adventures.

Demonstrations will include blacksmithing, woodworking, pottery, weaving, jewellery making, birds of prey and Rune Reading. Visitors can try their hand at axe throwing, archery and spear throwing and hear “Skalds” tell Viking sagas, participate in children’s treasure hunts and see fierce warriors do battle.

Programmed events* include walking tours, pottery making talks, make your own mead workshops, make your own Viking jewellery workshops, talks by famous Celtic & Viking artists, lectures on herbs for health and on the Irish-Danish connection to boat building.

The highlights of the festival will be a “Viking Feast” on Friday night and a torchlit procession followed by a concert in The Portico of Ards on Saturday night.

Commenting on the launch of the Festival, the Mayor of Ards and North Down, Councillor Mark Brooks, said:

"Ards and North Down Borough Council is delighted to be working with Newry, Mourne and Down District Council to deliver an exciting Viking Festival next month. Portaferry and Strangford have strong links with Vikings so it is a natural fit for both councils to work together to promote these areas of County Down. The Festival will provide a much-needed boost to our economy and aid local businesses in their recovery from the pandemic."

The Mayor's comments were echoed by the Chairperson of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, Councillor Cathy Mason:

“Seeing the two councils working together to aid local businesses and encourage tourism in both destinations is a real positive in the current climate. With plenty of activities planned across the festival on both sides of the lough I would encourage everyone to visit both Strangford and Portaferry by taking a short trip on the iconic Strangford Lough Ferry during the Festival weekend.”

Save the date and look out for full festival details which will be launched later this month online at visitardsandnorthdown.com and visitmournemountains.co.uk.

Embrace your inner Viking and join the invasion this March!

*Tickets essential for both free and paid for programmed events.