It was from Groomsport Harbour that the very first emigrant ship from Ulster sailed out to America. On September 9th, 1636, some 140 men, women and children boarded the Eagle Wing for the journey to a new life in America. They were Presbyterians, driven by the desire for the religious freedom that Ireland, at that time, denied them. After eight weeks at sea, however, terrible storms forced their return to Ulster, their dreams unfulfilled. But even though the Eagle Wing failed to complete its journey, it marked the beginning of a migration of over 250,000 Ulster Scots who transformed America, pushing back its western frontiers, playing a leading role in the War of Independence, providing 14 US presidents with Ulster Scots connections and, unforgettably, creating country music.
That first fateful voyage is remembered by the annual Eagle Wing Festival at Groomsport each July. You can also visit the 300-year-old Cockle Row Cottages.
Good, public parking in harbour