A Memory of Portaferry.
I was born in Portaferry in 1943 but moved to England, aged just 5 years, when my mother remarried. My mother's family were Mcbrides and were well known in the town, my mother was one of 13 children although some of them did not reach adulthood, quite common in those days.
My grandmother, Sarah McBride, was widowed when just 43 years old, times were hard and she took in washing, mending and cleaning to make ends meet. She used to sit by the light of a candle, embroidering patterns on scraps of linen to sell as handkerchiefs, I believe this was known as "Flowering".
Sarah McBride is buried in Ballyphilip parish churchyard. My uncle, George McBride and his wife, May, ran a shop in The Square, Portaferry for many years, this they eventually passed on to their long time assistant, Teenie Ferris, whom I visited last year.
After an absence of many years, I have visited Portaferry twice recently, it has grown a bit over the years but is essentially the same place that I left all those years ago. The view from the Windmill Hill, where you can see in all directions, is stunning, You can see the Isle of Man, the Mourne Mountains and right up Strangford Lough. It is also a nice walk up the Mountain road and back along the shore of Strangford Lough via Ballyhenry Bay.
One thing that hasn't changed is the friendliness of the people, they are wonderful and I was greeted with great warmth and kindness everywhere I went.