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Cockle Row Cottages

Cockle Row Cottages are the oldest buildings in the village.  Probably dating from the 18th century, they are a pair of fishermen’s cottages that were built to be sheltered from the prevailing wind and weather.  All of the other cottages in the village were demolished as part of the redevelopment of Groomsport in the 1960s.  Cockle Row was saved from demolition when the Rev Dr David Irwin, the Presbyterian Minister, and his wife, Maureen, stood in front of the bulldozer that was about to knock them down. For some years, the cottages were used by Bangor Art Club.  Today, one is used as a Visitor Information Centre and the other is a small heritage centre, reflecting the history of the cottages and the village.

Saving Cockle Row

Maureen and David Irwin remember the day in the late 1960s when bulldozers turned up at Cockle Row. Find out how the cottages were saved.


Cockle Row 1956Cockle-Row-across-the-bay-2-scaled

Discover Cockle Row

Cockle Row Cottages, 2023

These cottages, which probably date from the 18th century, are the only cottages still standing in the village.  They were last occupied in the 1960s. John and Peg Barrons were the last occupants of the thatched cottage.  Miss Orr lived in the other cottage. Cockle Island can be seen to the right of the cottages and the Watch House to the left. 0027 Photograph: Peter Gibson

Cockle Row Cottages and the Second National School

This postcard shows a view of the harbour and village in 1956.  The Second National School (which would later become the Walter Nelson Hall) can be seen behind Cockle Row Cottages.

0028 Photograph by Raphael Tuck Postcards. Downloaded, with permission, from:

View of Cockle Row Cottages. Date unknown

This photograph show what appears to be a ruined cottage, or out-building, beside the two cottages which are still standing.

0060 Photograph supplied by Elaine Nixon

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Two women at the pump near Cockle Row. 1930s

The two young women, dressed in shawls, were Peggy and Mercy Hunter. Peggy Hunter ran the Chimney Corner tea room, bakery and guest house in the building on Main Street known as St Margaret’s, which currently houses Neill’s Wines. Her sister, Mercy, was a well-known artist. Another woman, Matilda Barrons, can be seen outside her cottage at Cockle Row

0046 Graham’s (Printers) Ltd. North Down Museum.

Copyright: Ards and North Down Borough Council
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View of Cockle Row Cottages. Date unknown

The photograph shows Mrs Agnes Stewart (nee McCaw) who lived close-by in Brae Cottage, and her son, Jim (b 1907) moving cows. Cockle Row cottages can be seen in the background.

0059 Photograph supplied by Elaine Nixon.

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