Donaghadee Harbour

Along Shore Street, by the harbour

In the 17th and 18th centuries thousands of Scottish settlers, bringing their belongings with them, would have disembarked from ships in this small harbour. Just 18 miles west of the Scottish coast, Donaghadee had long been a destination for travellers from Scotland but it was Hugh Montgomery who saw its potential as a major trading route for the private plantation he was developing with Sir James Hamilton. The first Scots settlers arrived here in May 1606, though it would be another ten years before Montgomery obtained a charter from King Charles 1 to develop the harbour here and in Portpatrick, his Scottish port. He was also granted a warrant which attempted to restrict all crossings between Ulster and Scotland to this route.

The harbour remained the principal route between Scotland and Ulster until the 1860s and was also an important passenger and mail destination between England and Ireland. Vessels from Donaghadee sailed to many different ports, including Bilbao, Cadiz and Malaga. 


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