A ‘Mr David Stewart Ker’ of Red Hall Estate erected the harbour in 1850 for the exportation of limestone quarried from the surrounding headland and in later years for red clay bricks made in the Brickworks adjacent to the harbour.
These two local industries provided employment for a small but thriving hamlet surrounding the harbour & quarry, which had its own shop, public house, post office and also its own school. Traces of the hamlet buildings still remain in the surrounding slopes overlooking the sea
Mr David Stewart Ker was the owner of the townlands ‘White Head’ & ‘Knocknagullagh’ as demand for limestone was great Ker was persuaded to commence work constructing the harbour pier, Ker ordered that a limestone pier be built from stone from his quarries & had his harbour completed by 1850 The harbour would accommodate ships exporting to Scotland, Belfast & County Down, an area deficient in lime.
In later years a gap was cut in the main harbour wall and a larger wooden pier extension was constructed seaward into deeper water to allow paddle steamers & lager vessels access. This wooden extension can be seen in the photo below to the right of the railway.
Limestone exportation ceased in 1880 because of competition and low demand but the limestone quarried was still used locally mainly for road construction. Wooden boat building took the interest of the local fishermen with the original harbour office building being adapted and extended for this; their tools and machinery remain in place today.
Major works, additions & dredging since new ownership in 2013 has brought the harbour back into modern day contention whilst keeping the history & charm that has earned it a place in the hearts of many.
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