Cockle Row

This picturesque harbour nestles at the heart of the little village of Groomsport.  Its Ulster-Scots history dates from 1603 when a Scottish laird, Sir James Hamilton was given land (and a knighthood) by King James, as a reward for faithful service.

Sir James Hamilton encouraged hundreds of Scottish settlers to sail across and begin new lives in Ulster - including here at Gilgroome’s Port (or Gilgrim’s Port) - ‘the place of the gloomy servant.’

Groomsport has long been associated with fishing, and in the 1700s, little cottages built from local stone were the main dwellings for local fishermen. With narrow gable-ends to the sea, facing away from the harsh lough winds, they were thatched - with half-doors, open fires, thick solid walls, small single-glazed windows and stone or dirt floors. Though primitive, these simple homes typified the character of the Ulster-Scots inhabitants of Groomsport.