The word used in Killyleagh for a cormorant is a “Skart” (probably from the Viking “Skary”). It’s a fast bird, which skims straight and true over the waves, so a perfect name for the Killyleagh skiff. She was built in premises provide by the Smuggler’s Inn.

“I was particularly proud that our boat building team aged in range from teenage to seventy!”.

Killyleagh organised the first Regatta on Strangford Lough, in 1853. There were races for rowing and sailing boats. 

Killyleagh won the first Routen Wheel rowing race and are the current trophy holders.

Killyleagh quay, built by Lord Dufferin, dates from 1763.  As well as boats fishing for herring, cod, haddock, blocken, and lythe, trade was carried out with larger vessels bringing coal and limestone from England and returning with butter, corn and potatoes. Line fishing for mackerel is still popular in late summer. 

“I really enjoyed meeting people I might not otherwise have met”.

Killyleagh appeared on Irish TV, check it out here   



If interested in maintaing or rowing 'Skart' join the Killyleagh Skiff Rowing Club by getting in touch with Dougie Marr on 07860 891399 or email  No experience necessary, just lots of enthusiasim.....

Check them out on FaceBook here