Meet your local tour guide Brigid Watson

After a successful career in education I decided to set up my own business. I had recognised the tourism potential of this historic and stunningly beautiful region for some time and in 2017 set up Ards Peninsula Tours, offering guided tours by coach or on foot. In 2020 I rebranded the business as Sustainable Journeys Ireland as this name better reflected what the business offers. I am committed to promoting sustainable tourism and to the adoption of  sustainability principles.

I am a local, qualified guide offering tailormade, specialised walking tours and coach tours for groups around Strangford Lough. We offer general heritage tours covering subjects including Christian heritage, maritime heritage, nature and environment. There are many amazing stories of peoples’ lives and stories of emigration and the impressive achievements of emigrants who left the area and I have researched this theme on visits to New Zealand and Canada.

My special interest is in nature and Christian heritage.  As a Chartered Environmentalist and Green Tourism provider I take great pride in showing you the most interesting aspects of nature in this region. With extensive experience as an educator and communicator of knowledge allied to an expert knowledge of landscapes you will be guaranteed a truly unique experience covering a wide range of topics from Celtic Christianity to climate change!

Brigid and Hugh at Slanes Graveyard

What clients said

Background information on your tour guide

  • Graduate of Queen’s University, Belfast BSSc (Honours) in Geography/History; MSSc in European Integration; London Southbank University MSc with Distinction in Education for Sustainability
  • Chartered Environmentalist
  • Green Tourism provider
  • Former Senior teacher and Secondary Education Adviser
  • Member of TourGuidesNI, professional tour guiding association
  • World Host Ambassador
  • Member of the Friends of Columbanus Bangor
  • Member of the Institution of Environmental Sciences, London
  • Member of the Strangford Lough Steering Group Cluster
  • Associate Director of Portaferry and Strangford Trust
  • Hobbies : Tennis, travel, gardening and research
Brigid with a tour group
Roadside stall with honesty box

Our farm

I live with my husband Hugh on our coastal farm overlooking the Irish Sea on the outer Ards Peninsula, County Down.  Over the last ten years we have grown traditional Irish varieties of potatoes and sold them at a roadside stall with an honesty box .Free range eggs are also sold and sometimes free plants are available.  We  have sheep and springtime is a busy season with lambing in full swing. If you visit in April or May you can be photographed with a newborn lamb!

We have participated in several agri-environmental schemes over many years which have enhanced the biodiversity of the natural environment and increased the numbers of birds in species with declining numbers. For example, the population of  yellowhammers (chosen as the business logo) has increased significantly due to measures implemented on our farm and other farms in the region and a wider range of bird species has been recorded in the area. We have planted hundred of native species of trees including an apple orchard of native Irish varieties and a small woodland of native species including hazel, crab apple and bird cherry .

You can visit our farm, meet my farmer husband, learn about the agri-environmental programmes we have participated in and the changes in farming locally over the last century.

Our heritage

This ancient eastern coastal area is endowed with a treasure trove of historic monuments, castles, forts, abbeys, ancient graveyards and churches. You will be taken on a journey through the centuries, connecting you with nature and with our  heritage, folklore and Christianity. You could try your hand at making a St Brigid’s Cross after seeing a demonstration. I enjoy researching and telling the amazing life stories of emigrants from this area who travelled to places such as the USA, Canada and New Zealand and who made a very significant contribution in the countries in which they settled. I have undertaken research in New Zealand and Canada, uncovering some amazing stories and have helped visitors from the USA, Australia and Canada who came here to trace their ancestors.

Looking at a headstone

Why choose a tour with Brigid from Sustainable Journeys Ireland?

  • Superior personal service
  • Authentic and memorable experiences
  • Flexible dates and times for tours
  • Hidden gems off the beaten track
  • Engaging stories of the place and people