Portaferry (from Irish Port a' Pheire, meaning 'landing place of the ferry') is a small town in County Down, Northern Ireland, at the southern end of the Ards Peninsula, near the Narrows at the entrance to Strangford Lough.
It is home to the Exploris aquarium and is well known for the annual Gala Week Float Parade. It hosts its own small Marina, the Portaferry Marina. The Portaferry - Strangford Ferry service operates daily at 15-minute intervals (8am to 11pm) between the villages of Portaferry and Strangford, less than a mile apart, conveying about 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 farming takes place within Strangford Lough. Queen's University of Belfast have a Marine Research Laboratory on the shorefront and currently the town is also home to a tidal energy research project the Minesto Sea Kite. The Lough is one of the world's most important marine sites with over 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 essential lifeline for local fishermen and yachtsmen. In 1987 a lifeboat house was built aided by money 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 capable of speeds up to 34 Knots.
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