Portrush became the highlight of our trip to Ireland because of its beauty, unique atmosphere, friendly people and proximity to landmarks such as the Giant’s Causeway, Dunluce Castle, and Bushmills Distillery.
Portrush is a quaint little town located on a mile long peninsula of the Antrim coast in Northern Ireland. It seems like the end of the world because the Northern Ireland railroad track ends here, in the old town of Portrush.
East side beach
The peninsula, where the old town is located, is surrounded by the sea. Wild waves of the sea pound the white sandy beaches of the east and the west sides of the peninsula, and the rocks of Ramore Head at the tip of peninsula on stormy days.
When the sea is relatively quiet, the glistening from the sun on the west beach makes a golden sparkly path on the surface of the sea to the infinitely distant horizon.
Cozy Portrush harbor is home for a few dozen yachts and boats. A lifeboat of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is anchored here too.
Portrush has a long history that dates back to the 12th century. Now it’s a resort town with shops, restaurants, hotels, a railroad station, a small clinic, RNLI, a few churches, the Town Hall, a famous golf course, a visitor center and a surfing school. The town certainly has its character and has a mixture of architectural styles from Gothic to Victorian.
People stop their cars in the middle of the road just to talk when they see their friends passing by. Hardy and courageous surfers, dressed in wetsuits, ride the waves to the east side beach even when the temperature reaches only 46 degrees Fahrenheit (plus 7 Celsius). We were wearing warm jackets.
Buses connect Portrush to Colerain and other towns. The Rambler bus, which takes passengers to the landmarks of the Antrim coast – such as Dunluce Castle, the Giant’s Causeway, Bushmills distillery and Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge – operates from the middle of April to the end of September. However, we discovered breathtaking scenery in Portrush such as Ramore Head and the east side and the west side beaches.
We stayed at Albany Lodge on the top floor. Our room had a stunning view of the east beach and even of Dunluce Castle in the far distance. We could watch from the warmth and comfort of our room a daredevil windsurfer, whose tiny figure jumped across the turbulent waves, pulled by his sail. Sometimes he disappeared from view and we worried. But he got back on his board and continued his dangerous game with unruly waves. He rode his board for about ten minutes into the sea, then turned and surfed back to the shore. How exciting!
At night the view was equally impressive. Deserted streets were lit by lights, mapping the crescent of the shore line. A Union Jack was fluttering on a pole under the gusts of wind and rain.
Our host and the owner of Albany Lodge, Richard, told us about life in Portrush with the typically Irish sense of humor, which is very delightful. He also gave us an overview of the history and the customs of the area. There are lots of good restaurants and cafés in Portrush, but we followed Richard’s advice and went to the Ramore Wine Bar restaurant. This restaurant is located on the west beach and has great views, gourmet food and very reasonable prices.
There are more attractions in this lovely, windy and rainy town that captured our hearts. (To be continued)