Book Reviews: History of Townland on the North Down Coast

The News Letter (Belfast, Northern Ireland), January 17, 2004 | Go to article overview

Book Reviews: History of Townland on the North Down Coast


Byline: RICHARD SHERRIFF

Portavo by Peter Carr. Published by The White Row Press. pounds 18.00

OKAY, Christmas is over, the New Year is already looking a little grubby at the edges. It's time to sit down with one of the gems of last year. Released into the hurly burly of the holiday rush, this is the book you want to sit down with now that there's some time to allow yourself to be gently transported into the world of Portavo.

One of Ireland's 61,000 townlands, Portavo sits calmly among the rolling hills of north Down.

At one side it rolls right into the sea just between Donaghadee and the village of Groomsport near Bangor.

If you've ever for a moment wondered what a townland actually, is then Carr is your man. Asked by the current guardian of Portavo's main house and gardens, Derek Tughan, to write a history of the spot, he set about his task with gusto.

So much so that this volume alone took 15 years to complete and takes the reader only as far as 1844.

To be fair, Carr starts his tale around 7000BC so there's a fair bit of ground to cover, but he does it with such a light and absorbing touch that the centuries literally fly by. …

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