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Kearney Coastal Walk & Quintin Castle

Kearney Road, Newtownards

Available all year

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Kearney is a fascinating village with a rich social history and it was used as the setting for ‘My Mother and Other Strangers’ (RTE/BBC – 2016). 

Romantic Quintin Castle is one of the few Anglo-Norman castles still lived in today.

On this walk, delve into the very distant past as you learn how the spectacular coastal scenery and unique rock formations came into being 400 million years ago. Stay in the moment and immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of the area’s abundant wildlife including grey seals, gannets and wildflowers such as sea champion and wild thyme. 

Kearney is a former fishing village in a beautiful, tranquil setting surrounded by the sound of the waves lapping the shoreline and the birdsong of many species including terns, gannets, oyster catchers and cormorants. 

The name Kearney derives from ‘Cearnach’ an area of angular rock. The rocks along this coastline are over 400 million years old and attract international geological interest. In their nooks and crannies are found the most delightful, fragile wildflowers.

This coastline presented a hazard to ships and there are many stories of shipwrecks, lost treasure and lost lives. In a different way the unusual coastal formations helped smugglers who had a working knowledge of the coastline and changing sea conditions superior to that of the custom officials who were in pursuit of them!

The brilliant poet Patrick McManus was born at Kearney on St Patrick’s Day in 1863. He was a passionate lover of the beauties of earth and sky to be seen along the shores of Strangford Lough and his best poetry was inspired by these scenes. 

One of the most famous residents of Kearney was Mary Ann Donnan. Born in 1841 she lived to the age of 99. She acted as a midwife at all the births, attended all the christenings, dressed the corpses and was present at all the wakes. She had many tales to tell!

Quintin Castle was erected in 1184 by John De Courcy, the first Anglo-Norman knight to venture into Ulster in 1177.

The castle got its unusual name from a chieftain of the Savage family. His Christian name was Quintin, the English form of Cooey. The castle has had a colourful history down through the centuries and today is one of the very few Anglo-Norman castles still lived in.      

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    View Terms & Conditions

    Terms & Conditions

    Is there a minimum group size?
    There must be a minimum of two persons booked on any given walk.

    When do the walks take place?
    Walks will usually take place on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday starting from Friday 4th May 2018. However I am happy to arrange walks on other days at your request.

    How do I get to the starting point for a walk?
    You can travel by car and park at/near the starting point. If you are travelling by public transport we can advise on the best way of getting to the start of your walk.

    How fit do I need to be?
    The walks are easy as they are largely over flat surfaces and do not require any particular fitness level. Distances covered are relatively short and the duration of a walk is not more than 1.5 hours.

    What do I need to bring on a walk?
    Bring water, sun cream, sunglasses, rain wear, sturdy walking shoes with a firm grip, reading glasses (if used), warm clothing and binoculars.

    Are dogs permitted on walks?