Why is Ardglass in a Jamjar? I’ve no idea! But I’ve heard that expression used by my late grandparents, back in the 1960’s. It was made famous by Van Morrison, the singer/sngwriter, who immortalised it in his song ‘Coney Island.’
…On and on, over the hill to Ardglass In the jam jar, autumn sunshine, magnificent And all shining through Stop off at Ardglass for a couple of jars of Mussels and some potted herrings in case We get famished before dinner…
Van Morrison (who I understand had a significant birthday yesterday) wrote a song called ‘Coney Island’ in which he mentions ‘the Lecale District.’ It’s that broad area that stretches along the Co.Down coastline between Killyleagh and Killough, and includes towns like Downpatrick, Shrigley, Strangford, and Ardglass. locale is (like Strangford and the Ards Peninsula), a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.’ – so it’s no wonder that when Van Morrison made his meandering car journey through it, he would wish that it could be like this all the time!
One of those outstandingly beautiful areas is the little hamlet of Kilclief, perched right on the edge of ‘the Narrows’ that bottle-neck of unpredictable tidal water at the mouth of Strangford Lough. Kilclief has an old castle, (Caislean Cill Cléithe) a state supported monument, a ‘tower-house’ built around the years 1412-1441, by one John Sely, the Bishop of Down, later defrocked for living at this castle with a married woman who went by the unusual name of Lettice Savage!