My Little County Down Village - a Memory of Portavogie.
Oct.1968 - April 1969
I remember stepping off the Ferry in Belfast from England and meeting my father with my luggage at hand. After loading my suitcases in his car. He treated me to my first Belfast breakfast and I must say it was the best I have ever tasted. We then headed out of Belfast to the coast to the final destination. In the village I was introduced to the Palmers at their boatyard. We would then get the keys to the cottage where we would be renting from them which was just around the corner from the Palmers and just a short walk from the seashore. This wonderful little cottage in this quaint little fishing village was a dream. The cottage needed a little T.L.C. but in no time with us living there we fitted in there like a glove so to speak!
Dad had come over from Scotland a few months before me to make a go of a fish filleting business there in Portavogie. He had purchased space suitable for processing fish. This space was just a short walk from our cottage. Opening of this business would also in turn help a few of the locals have work there. He would go down to the harbour late each night to wait for the fishing boats come in with their catch. Then the auctioning would start and dad would purchase his supplies of freshly caught fish to be ready for filleting and packing. I also got involved with the packing of the fish. I remember it was very cold working in the factory but the fish had to be kept cold. Fish was plentiful back then but that was 40 years ago.
I remember the village very clearly you could walk everwhere it was that small. There was mabey one/two shops for bread/milk also a chemist. Of course there was also a small hairdresser run by an English lady.
The sand on the beach was lovely and very natural back then since not that many tourists came by. There was a few daytrippers who would come through and they would also purchase fresh filleted fish from dad.
I believe now Portavogie has been invaded by the Developers which has changed the village from what I remember. Looks like it has been uprooted from a village with character to the typical modern type homes sprung up all over. Therefore, where the cottage of which I clearly remember has probably been bulldozed away and now sits a newer home. I know new is nice but character can NEVER be replaced!
I just hope someone out there still has pics of the old Portavogie of how it used to be.
I will always remember Portavogie and the people I met there in a special way. I wonder one day if I will ever return as I sometimes wish that could be. Though sometimes memories are supposed to be kept as memories.
Portavogie you will always be in my heart.
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