If you ever get the urge to drive around the coast of the Ards Peninsula on the northeast coast of Ireland, you will probably pass through the small village of Millisle, about one and a half miles south of Donaghadee, and six miles southeast of Bangor.
Being in Millisle feels a little bit like passing through a time warp. It is the type of village that was a popular resort in the 1950s, when holidays in Spain or the Canary Islands were completely unfamiliar to ordinary people in Ireland. Chip shops, caravan parks and small gospel halls sum up the atmosphere of Millisle.
Essentially a seaside village, Millisle has a sandy beach which has won awards for its cleanliness. There is a large car park conveniently located right beside it. On a clear day, it's possible to see the Mull of Galloway in Scotland, and even the Isle of Man. Fishing, swimming and dog-walking are common activities, depending on the weather. It's also a popular spot for canoeing and windsurfing. Not far from the beach is a caravan park, which provides a base for many visitors throughout the summer months.
Although it's a small village, there are some places in Millisle worth noting:
Borza's Ice Cream Shop
If you walk along the main street in Millisle, you will pass the former site of this famous local establishment. Run by a jolly little man of Italian extraction until the 1990s, this shop was the main reason many people went to Millisle. The ice cream was widely regarded as second to none, and crowds would often come from as far away as Belfast just to taste it. The yellow painted wooden shopfront was something of a landmark.
This old windmill stands out in the fields that surround the village. It is to Millisle what the Empire State Building is to New York City. Around 1916 it was discontinued from regular use, but in the 1930s its owners gave it to the government, and it is now restored to full working order.
Up the hill at the end of the main street, a funfair provides an attraction for kids all year round. It is a fixture of the town, and remains all year round, unlike the more usual summer funfairs which visit most towns in Northern Ireland.
Did You Know?
During World War II, a farm in Millisle became home to a group of Jewish children who were immigrants from Nazi Germany and central Europe.