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New maritime initiative for Co Down fishing ports

Guide Duane Fitzsimons from Lecale at the launch of a the Maritime Heritage Tourism initiative. Picture by Gavan Caldwell
Marie Louise McConville

A NEW initiative to attract visitors to three of Northern Ireland's main fishing ports has been launched in Co Down.

The Maritime Heritage Tourism project includes guide training, signage, seating , information panels, free WiFi and media Apps in a bid to bring visitors to Ardglass, Portavogie and Kilkeel.

The initiative was made possible by funding from the European Union and the Department for Agriculture and Rural Development.

Naomi Bailie, chairwoman of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, said the aim of project is to "attract and retain visitors who will bring revenue into the three ports and their wider communities.

"Newry , Mourne and Down district Council were very pleased to work in particular with the fishing dependant communities on the erection of information panels and the production of heritage apps for all three fishing ports".

Kevin Quigley from the Northern Ireland Fishery Harbour Authority, said a £50,000 investment in free WiFi provided "a much needed communication channel for fishermen while they are in the harbours".

"On-line communication is also key to presenting interesting stories, activities and local business information to visitors, through mobile devices," he said.

Alan Graham, Mayor of Ards and North Down, said an investment of £80,000 had "enabled public realm improvements to be carried out in Portavogie".

"The project has helped to reconnect the harbour to the village, enhancing Portavogie as a tourist destination. This is complemented by the newly developed heritage guide booklet that provides visitors with a better understanding of the working of the harbour".

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