The Ards Peninsula (from the Irish: an Aird) is a peninsula in County Down, Northern Ireland which separates Strangford Lough from the North Channel of the Irish Sea, on Ireland's northeast coast. A number of towns and villages are located on the peninsula, such as the seaside town of Donaghadee, with the surrounding area known as the Ards district. Newtownards, situated at the northern end of the peninsula, is the largest town in the area, while Portaferry is at the southern end of the Peninsula. It is largely situated in the Borough of Ards. The peninsula was once known as "The Ards", and was conquered by the Normans in the 12th century, with the Norman family Savage building a number of castles, and priories on the peninsula. Towns and villages of the Ards Peninsula include: Newtownards, Portaferry, Ballyhalbert, Ballywalter, Carrowdore, Cloghy, Greyabbey, Kircubbin, Portavogie.