Portrush is Northern Ireland’s quintessential seaside town: a fun and lively resort with sandy beaches, a vibrant nightlife and plenty of daytime amusements. Portrush stretches out across a mile-long peninsula that juts into the North Atlantic and presents a panorama of the Causeway Coast, from the Giant’s Causeway in the east to Lough Foyle and the headlands of Donegal in the west. With its range of restaurants, nightclubs, hotels and eye-catching scenery, Portrush is a great place for a family holiday.
From Flint Stones to Surfers – the History of Portrush
Portrush was inhabited since at least 4,000 BC according to archaeologists, but modern Portrush has a lot more yabba-dabba-doo these days, drawing daytrippers to town with its selection of amusement arcades and surf schools.
Yet there are some heritage sites that are well worth seeing, particularly Dunluce Castle which is a short distance from the sea front. The ruins of Dunluce Castle are perched on a cliff at the edge of the sea, a dramatic location guaranteed to capture visitors’ imaginations. It dates back to the 14th century and was the home of the MacDonnell clan until part of it fell into the sea in 1639. A fire destroyed the rest in 1641.
Whiterocks beach is a perfect location for families when the sun shines, but the surf schools are out and about in all weather. Portrush is billed as “the surfing capital of Northern Ireland” and there is no shortage of instructors and surf shops to help novices catch their first wave. Portrush is also great for windsurfing and other water sports – you can even take a trip on a fishing vessel to see how the professionals do it.
Sports and Leisure Pursuits in Portrush
Serious golf fans need look no further than the Royal Portrush Golf Club, which hosted the British Open championship in 1951 and has plans underway to upgrade it again. Should the committed golfer get bored, there are two other courses in town. There are two bowling greens on the seafront, and several tennis courts. Cyclists will enjoy the 22-mile tour that goes from the Giant’s Causeway through Portrush to Benone Strand. And for children there is the pirate-themed Waterworld pool, complete with a Pirate’s Cove, rope bridge, water pistols and scramble net.
Shopping in Portrush
Portrush has shops to cater for all tastes, from edgy surfwear shops and holistic beauty salons to classic womenswear, handmade jewellery and antiques. The White House department store is a well-known landmark which has stood for more than a century and continues to sell its wares to modern customers.
Eating and Nightlife in Portrush
Portrush has no shortage of restaurants – the town boasts a variety of cuisines including stone-baked pizza and Italian food, modern Irish restaurants, traditional pub grub and seafood. Among the pubs and cafes you’ll find a range of offerings from the greasy spoon serving an Ulster Fry with black and white pudding to espresso bars with the latest blends.
Kelly’s nightclub is a draw for people from around Northern Ireland and has regular spots with big name international DJs, and there are lots of other modern bars and traditional Irish pubs to choose from and rest those dancing feet.
Portrush will liven up any holiday with a host of distractions from extravagant landscapes to a dynamic nightlife. It’s also an excellent place to begin exploring Northern Ireland’s famous Causeway Coast, and take in the internationally-renowned Giant’s Causeway World Heritage site and the breathtaking Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge to find out exactly where they filmed Game of Thrones.