Sharpen Your Axes Because The Vikings Are Coming!

The Vikings are coming to Strangford and Portaferry.

The Vikings are Coming to Strangford and Portaferry.

An exciting Viking-themed festival is set to arrive in March in Strangford Lough named by the vikings themselves decades ago as ‘strang fjiord‘ – ‘strong waterway

Newry Mourne and Down District Council, Tourism NI and Ards and North Down Borough Council are excited to launch the Strangford Lough Viking Festival, which will be held this March.

The main activity will take place in Portaferry and Strangford from Thursday 24-Sunday 27 March. It will highlight the strong Viking links rooted within Strangford Lough and showcase a wide range of experiences and entertainment for all ages.

Speaking about the festival, Newry Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Councillor Cathy Mason said: “Seeing the two councils working together to aid local businesses and encourage tourism in both destinations is a real positive in the current climate.

“With plenty of activities planned across the Festival on each side of the lough, I would encourage everyone to visit both Strangford and Portaferry by taking the short trip on the iconic Strangford Lough ferry during the Festival weekend.”

Portaferry and Strangford will see Viking camps with re-enactors telling the Viking story and showing how they lived in the area more than a thousand years ago. Full sized replica long ships will also be on display both on land and water, with sailors from the ‘Vikings’ TV series discussing their adventures.

Fierce warriors will be doing battle and there will be a wide variety of demonstrations ranging from blacksmithing to Rune reading. Visitors will also be able to try their hand at a number of Viking activities such as axe throwing and archery and there will be a children’s treasure hunt for the younger visitors.

A full list of all the events programmed over the Festival will become available nearer the time, however the highlights will be a Viking feast on the Friday evening and a torchlit procession followed by a concert in The Portico of Ards on Saturday night.

Commenting on the launch of the Festival, Regions Manager at Tourism NI, Ainsley McWilliams said: “We are delighted to support this exciting new festival which will explore the Viking links within Strangford Lough as well as showcase a wide range of authentic experiences and entertainment suitable for everyone.

“Events like this are crucial to our local economy and help boost the profile of tourism in Northern Ireland. I have no doubt that the addition of the Strangford Lough Viking Festival to the festival programme for 2022 will create new and exciting reasons to visit Portaferry and Strangford.”

Mayor of Ards and North Down, Councillor Mark Brooks, added: “Ards and North Down Borough Council is delighted to be working with Newry, Mourne and Down District Council to deliver an exciting Viking Festival next month.

“Portaferry and Strangford have strong links with Vikings so it is a natural fit for both councils to work together to promote these areas within County Down. The Festival will provide a much-needed boost to our economy and aid local businesses in their recovery from the pandemic.”

Make sure to save the date and look out for full festival details, which will be launched later this month online at: and

Embrace your inner Viking and join the invasion this March!

Mayor of Ards and North Down Borough Council, Councillor Mark Brooks and Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Councillor Cathy Mason launch the new Strangford Lough Viking Festival with members from the Magnus Vikings from Ballydugan Medieval Settlement.