Portaferry (from Irish Port a’ Pheire, meaning ‘landing place of the ferry’) is a small town in County Down, Northern Ireland, at the southern halt of the Ards Peninsula, near the Narrows at the way in to Strangford Lough. It is home to the Exploris aquarium and is capably known for the annual Gala Week Float Parade. It hosts its own little Marina, the Portaferry Marina. The Portaferry – Strangford Ferry encourage operates daily at 15-minute intervals (8am to 11pm) between the villages of Portaferry and Strangford, less than a mile apart, conveying roughly 500,000 passengers per annum. It had a population of 2,514 people in the 2011 Census.
Pot fishing, mainly for prawns and crabs and licensed shellfish crop growing takes place within Strangford Lough. Queen’s University of Belfast have a Marine Research Laboratory upon the shorefront and currently the town is also home to a tidal spirit research project the Minesto Sea Kite. The Lough is one of the world’s most important marine sites with greater than 2,000 marine species.
There are fine Georgian buildings in the town square, including a Market House, now used as a community centre.
Portaferry Lifeboat is an valuable lifeline for local fishermen and yachtsmen. In 1987 a lifeboat house was built aided by keep raised through the Belfast Newsletter’s Lord Louis Mountbatten Appeal Fund. In 1994 a new Atlantic 75 inshore lifeboat, also named ‘Blue Peter V’, replaced the Atlantic 21. The Atlantic 75 is the fastest seagoing lifeboat in the RNLI’s fleet and is talented of speeds going on to 34 Knots.