Helen's Bay railway station
|Population||1,390 (2011 Census)|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||Northern Ireland|
Helen's Bay is a village on the northern coast of County Down, Northern Ireland. It is within the townland of Ballygrot (from Irish Baile gCrot, meaning 'settlement of hillocks'), between Holywood, Crawfordsburn and Bangor. It is served by a railway station and had a population of 1,390 in the 2011 Census. It is part of the Ards and North Down Borough Council area.
The village is named after Helen, Lady Dufferin (née Sheridan), mother of Frederick Hamilton-Temple-Blackwood, 1st Marquess of Dufferin and Ava, and owners of the Clandeboye Estate. Helen’s Bay is a planned village which derived from the building of the Belfast and County Down Railway (BCDR) in the mid 19th century, and the aspirations of the local landlord, the Marquess of Dufferin and Ava who wanted to develop the area as a luxury holiday resort to rival Portstewart and Portrush. The granting of ‘villa’ or ‘house-free’ tickets by the BCDR Company, which entitled the holders to free travel for a period of time if they constructed houses within one mile of the station, encouraged further development of the settlement.
Places of interest
Crawfordsburn Country Park, on the southern shores of Belfast Lough, features 3.5 km (2 mi) of coastline and a small beach. The Park also includes Grey Point Fort, a coastal battery and gun emplacement dating from 1904 and updated during World War II. It now houses a military museum. Helen's Bay Golf Club is located within the village and has a 9-hole course. Chef Michael Deane previously owned a restaurant in the village.
Helen's Bay is classified by the NI Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) as being within Belfast Metropolitan Urban Area (BMUA). On Census day (29 April 2001) there were 1,362 people living in Helen's Bay. Of these:
- 20.1% were aged under 17 years and 27.6% were aged 65 and over
- 47.9% of the population were male and 52.1% were female
- 65.8% identified as Christian (other), 22.2% as non-religious and 10.9% as Roman Catholic specifically.
- 1.0% of people aged 16–74 were unemployed.
For more details see: NI Neighbourhood Information Service
Swimmer Andrew Bree is from Helen's Bay. Local celebrity chef Michael Deane won his 1st Michelin star at Deane's on the Square restaurant. This was only the second Michelin star to be awarded in Northern Ireland.
- Helen's Bay railway station opened on 1 May 1865 and was closed for goods traffic on 24 April 1950. Helen's Bay is on the Belfast–Bangor railway line with train services provided by Northern Ireland Railways.
Although small, Helen's Bay still has its own BT Telephone exchange. Local numbers exist in the following formats:
- (028) 9185 2XXX
- (028) 9185 3XXX
- (028) 9185 4XXX