Portavogie People


Have a look and see if there is anyone you recognise , maybe a long lost aunt or uncle, brother or sister or even grandmother or grandfather.

Portavogie Presbyterian Church Sports Day 1960s

An article wrote by Elma Wikens for "North Irish Roots", the journal of the NI Family History Society. It goes out all over the world, so it was aimed for people who know very little about Portavogie.



Portavogie is a fishing village on the Ards Peninsula in County Down, reputedly founded by Scottish families in the early 17th century. Today those surnames still predominate – Palmer, Mahood, Cully, Adair, Coffey. The population seems to have been very small until the middle of the 19th century when there were only a few houses. Thirty years later there were nearly 300 houses, and the year 1904 saw the completion of a fine new harbour. There is a scarcity of churches in the village – the Portavogie Presbyterian Church is of comparatively recent origin. Gospel Halls were the favoured places of worship, but the Brethren did not keep records which is unfortunate from a family history point of view. My grandfather Francis Reid was born there in 1878. The surname Reid is not an easy one to trace. It is to be found in every village in the Ards – and as Francis was an only child and his father Joseph Reid was an only son, I can find no relations by the name of Reid living there today. My search led me to Glastry Presbyterian Church – centrally positioned in the Ards about two miles from each of the villages of Portavogie, Kircubbin and Ballyhalbert. The present church dates from 1777 – with baptism records from 1728 and marriages from 1750. And it was there I found the baptism of Joseph Mulree Reid, born in Portavogie on 7th November 1844, son of Francis Reid, Fisherman, and his wife Mary (nee Mulree). Two years later was the baptism of another child – Eliza Jane Reid born 6th September 1846. But where were the baptisms of the three younger children? Halfway between the townland of Glastry and the village of Portavogie, a new Church of Ireland was built about 1850, called St. Andrew’s, Ballyhalbert, but referred to locally as Ballyeasborough as that is the name of the townland it is in. And it was to St. Andrew’s that the Reid family transferred their allegiance as their three younger daughters were baptised there – Lucy Reid born 23rd September 1850; Mary Reid born 11th July 1853; and Agnes Reid born 2nd September 1856. In the autumn of 1869 the three youngest girls took scarletina. Agnes died and Lucy and Mary became deaf and dumb as a result of the illness. They were sent to a school in Belfast – the Ulster Institution for the Education of the Deaf and Dumb and the Blind – which was on the Lisburn Road and demolished about the 1960s. It was there that Mary met her future

husband, Wm. John Hanvey, who was also deaf and mute.


It was at this point that the search seemed to come to a halt as an elderly cousin told me that Mary and Wm. John had lived in Belfast, their three children were born there and presumably all had been buried there. It would be like looking for a needle in a haystack. Then serendipity intervened. I was at my local library, trawling through the pages of the Newtownards Chronicle on microfilm – a very laborious task. I was looking for an obituary of someone who had died in 1882. When suddenly – and unexpectedly – I found myself looking at the marriage record of Mary Reid, 3rd daughter of Francis Reid, and Wm. John Hanvey, at Great Victoria Street Presbyterian Church, Belfast, on 25th December 1882. Contact has recently been made with a descendant of a daughter of Mary and Wm. John. So a search is now on for descendants of their two sons – Francis John Hanvey and William Hanvey. As to what happened my own grandfather – Francis Reid of Portavogie. He worked at a farm just outside Greyabbey owned by his mother’s uncle Johnny McCance. After Johnny died in 1908 Frank inherited the farm, and six years later he married Sarah Pritchard, a farmer’s daughter from the nearby townland of Ballyatwood. They went on to have eleven children (9 girls and 2 boys). This photograph was taken on their wedding day in February 1914 at a photographer’s studio in Belfast (called, appropriately enough, Reid Brothers) shortly after their marriage ceremony in Ballygrainey Presbyterian Church just outside Bangor.

the wedding photo of Frank Reid and Sarah Pritchard

Frank and Sarah taken c.1940 after they had left the farm and moved into a house in Main Street, Greyabbey

Bands & Loyal Orders

LOL 552
Portavogie True Blues LOL 552

Portavogie possesses the oldest warrant number in North Down. LOL 552 originally sat in Portaferry. It was founded in 1797 with 55 members but in 1840 the lodge moved to Portavogie. The current warrant in possession of 552 was issued on 18th June 1892 by Grand Lodge to Bro. George Mahood then the Worshipful Master. Prior to the building of the current Orange Hall the lodge sat in premises belonging to the Ennis family now the site of 3 Cloughey Road. The longest serving Worshipful Master was Johm McMullan who held office from 1926 to 1939. During his time in the chair the lodge paid him the sum of £1.0.0 for house work carried out in the hall in 1934. Also amongst the receipts for 1934 was one for the hire of a 32 seat minibus from Portavogie to Kircubbin on 1st July for £1.10.00 and another for dues to the District Lodge for 10 shillings and sixpence.LOL 552 has had some well beloved Brethren. A headstone in Ballyeasborough graveyard erected by the Brethren of LOL 552 in memory of Bro. Alexander McConnell who died 23rd July 1906 aged 86 years is only one such example.

Various arches and banners too numerous to mention have been in possession of LOL 552, the largest banner hangs in the hall and measures 7ft x 7ft and was unfurled around 1960 and accompanied the Brethren on their visit to Scotland in the early 1970’s. LOL 552 has been fortunate that it has always had a good membership and can boast the best turnout in No. 11 District at many Twelfth demonstrations.

Foundation Stone Laid For Portavogie Orange Hall

The laying of the foundation stone of Portavogie Orange Hall was reported in the Belfast News Letter of February 6th, 1873. The paper noted that several clergymen had been present at the event, and an Orange procession had been held from the school-house to the platform, where William Keown MP of Ballydugan House presided. Lodges from Greyabbey, Kircubbin, Ballyhalbert, Ballyeastboro' Kirkiston, Cloughey and Portaferry were represented at the historic occasion

Captain Jim Moore's Museum


We were kindly invited into the Home Of Captain Jim Moore to see his superb collection. Captain Moore gave us permision to film whilst there, we hope you enjoy the film as much as we enjoyed the experience .

Children's Choir Fisherman's Hall Warnock's Road
Back row left to right 
Gerald Doherty, Elizabeth Bailie Doherty (dec), Bert McMaster,  Lena Millar McVea, Will Ritchie, Muriel Shaw Palmer, Margaret Love. 
2nd row 
Jackie Young, Tom Ritchie Margaret Adair Carson (Dec) Samuel Young,  unknown, Richard Bloomer
3rd row 
Inez McMaster (dec) , Ann McMaster, Louise Orr Carroon , Yvette McClements Bailie, Robert Murray, Bobby McCormick Robinson , 
Front row 
Eric Cully and Ramsey Eccles. 

Our very own Tom Mahood playing a wee medley

on his bagpipes the day before his 80th Birthday !

Granny and Granda Orr

Men Standing left to right

Hugh Coffey (Sadie Kelly’s dad) : Jack Young: Willie Hugh Coffey (Maria McClement's dad) : Robert Coffey (Hugh's brother and father of the late Robert  of Cloughey husband of

Sharon Warnock)

Front row 
Frank McCormick of Harbour Road Father of David, Alex, Frank

Victor Adair of New Road and later Springfield Gardens. Married Nelly Mary Coffey.

Thank's to Lena Miller for this cracking news clipping of pupils from Portavogie Primary school . See anyone you recognise ? 

Portavogie Accordion Band in 60s/70s

Parading in Ards; outside Portavogie Presbyterian Church,; outside the " oul school" formerly St.Andrew's Parochial Hall now the Pigeon Club.

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