At 150 km² Strangford Lough is the largest sea Lough in the British Isles and is a haven for wildlife. Strangford Lough's shores are also home to some of the finest country estates, parklands and walking trails in Northern Ireland. There is something for every walker to enjoy but the trails are especially suited to families and those looking for well-signed scenic outings on good surfaces. The Lecale Way is the iconic long distance coastal walk in this area.
St Patrick is believed to have been captured from Roman Britain and subjected to slavery in Slemish, County Antrim from the age of 16 to 22 years old. After escaping, he returned to Ireland some years later and was instrumental in converting pagan Ireland to Christianity. St. Patrick famously came up Strangford Lough and landed outside Downpatrick. Here he founded his first Church in a local farmer’s barn in AD432. This area is now known as Saul (meaning barn) and lies along the Lecale Way.
70,000 birds, come here each winter to feed on the rich tidal waters and thousands of common seals also breed in the lough, making this area one of Europe’s most important wildlife sites. Up to 75% of the world population of light-bellied brent geese over-winter here with one-third of all Ireland's terns nesting on the lough’s islands during late spring and early summer.
Strangford Lough is home to the world's first commercial scale and grid-connected tidal stream generator – SeaGen. It was installed in April 2008 and is the final stage in the technology development prior to installing multiple units in arrays of turbines across the UK.
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