Kilkeel Prawn Festival 1963

Kilkeel Prawn Festival 1963

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kilkeel, Mournes




Production 26/07/1963


04min 24sec


silent, sound



black and white


Funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland under the Archiving Scheme 2


Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, Department for Communities, ITV, UTV Archive

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Mr Henry Collins and Mr Stanley Archer discuss the preparations for the 1963 Kilkeel Prawn Festival, following the success of the first year of the festival in 1962. Mr Collins tells Ernest Strathdee about the competition between the boats for the largest haul, the pageant, and parade. In 1962, King Archie was crowned the King of the Mournes. This year, King Neptune would be the guest and King Archie would present him with fruit, vegetables, and eggs from the Mournes. In return, King Nepture would gift Kilkeel the fruit of his seas – the prawn.

Mr Stanley Archer – a well-known horticulturalist in the area – shows the vegetables, fruit, and eggs he has grown and prepared for the presentation. 


Kilkeel is a fishing port at the foot of the Mourne Mountains in Co Down. Kilkeel harbour is a relatively new harbour, with harbours at Annalong and at Derryogue (now gone) preceding it in importance. The harbour was first started in the 1850s and a pier was built in 1868, with further improvements in 1872. The harbour could only accommodate 24 boats in the 1880’s. In 1885 the South Pier was constructed, followed in 1886 by the Old Dock.In 1916 it was extended to form the inner basin. There was further expansion in 1955 and the improvements continue to this day, with the installation of floating pontoons to accommodate small boats, and a few new slipways completed in 2008. Originally herring was the catch, and then whitefish, like cod and haddock. In the 1950s they first started fishing for prawns or “creepy crawlies” as they were known locally. Now prawns are the major catch, with an increase in catching crabs and lobsters. In recent years aquaculture is on the increase with the growing and harvesting of oysters and mussels in Carlingford Lough. In the early days schooners traded with Liverpool, Scotland , Cornwall and Kinsale, trading goods such as potatoes, grain, granite and importing coal, etc. Kilkeel also was home for local boat builders and cooperages, as well as all the related trades needed to maintain boats.


An Ulster Television Production.



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