Boats have been landing on the shores of Kilkeel for over a thousand years. However, it wasn’t until a pier was established to give the vessels shelter from the weather, that was eventually developed into a harbour in 1853, that the fishing industry began to develop.
Located at the base of the Mourne Mountains, Kilkeel comes from the Irish ‘Cill Chaoil’, meaning “church of the narrow”. Ruins of the church built in 1388 can still be seen today. A capital of the ‘Ancient Kingdom of Mourne’, there is thought to have been a settlement in Kilkeel from about the 11th Century.
Home to over 50 vessels and all the main seafood processing and distribution businesses, the modern day Kilkeel Harbour is now the Fishing Capital of Northern Ireland. And with plans for the development of a new, bigger harbour, to enable larger boats to land their catch, Kilkeel is set to continue to grow in importance as a Fishing Capital of Europe.