Monday, December 2, 2013


After a long day of driving the Antrim Coast and visiting the Rope Bridge, we were ready to kick back and relax in our overnight Northern Ireland base, Portrush.  Our GPS unit was handy, but less than perfect getting us into town.  As such, we found ourselves hopelessly lost, even in such a small city as Portrush.  It wasn't all bad, because, for better or for worse, the lost traveler sees much more than the directionally sure.

We saw much of the city while searching for our hostel.  We got out and asked directions first at a charity shop, then at a pub.  Everyone we met went out of their way to help us get around, especially at the crowded pub.  I quickly had three or four local folks excitedly jumping up to point me on my way.  Our hostel ended up being just around the corner from the pub, so they were able to walk me out the front door (and they did!) to show me the road.

Portrush Holiday Hostel and our rental car in Portrush, Northern Ireland
Rental car at the hostel
We arrived at the Portrush Holiday Hostel in the afternoon.  Our host was helpful and ran a clean, beautiful hostel.  These places are great for traveling in Europe.  They are built for poor (or cheap) young people who don't always want to go around seeing the sights, so they feel much like group rental homes.  We are usually a bit older than the guests at these places, who can resemble the cast of any season of The Real World, but they are always welcoming and friendly.  

This hostel (and many others) had a full-size, fully loaded kitchen for guest use.  We got some tips and directions to Portrush sights from our host and set off for a quick tour and a stop for groceries.

Cory looks at the beach in Portrush, Northern Ireland
Obligatory "Cory Looking at the Water" photo
 Portrush is what could be called the "Coney Island of Ireland."  In its heyday a century ago, this small city set on its own peninsula was a big-time summer destination in the British Isles.  Its longer-than-usual days in high summer, sandy beaches, and better-than-the-rest-of-the-island-but-not-as-hot-as-the-Mediterranean weather made it the perfect retreat.  The beaches, called 'strands' were built up with boardwalks, carnival games, and small thrill rides.

In more recent times, fewer travelers make Portrush a resort destination for its cheesy carnival atmosphere, but there is still a proud and robust tourist business in the summer.  Our visit was out-of-season, so the rides were closed and summertime crowds missing.  All the better for us, because the weather was beautiful and we had most of the beaches, restaurants, and parks to ourselves.

Part of the Boardwalk in Portrush, Northern Ireland
Part of the Boardwalk

Thrill rides are closed for the season in Portrush, Northern Ireland
Thrill Rides
We picked up the supplies for a wonderful chicken taco dinner at the market after touring the central entertainment district.  The coastline was beautiful on the whole peninsula, as the sandy beaches were mostly on the Southern (mainland) side, with rocky volcanic cliffs and islands on the Northern tip.  One of the best views can be had in the large park on the Northern end of the peninsula.  From here, one can see the whole city on the flat peninsula to the rolling hills inland.  Looking to the East, one can see the rocky volcanic coastline going to Dunluce Castle and Giant's Causeway (different posts) and to the West, the high hills of Donegal (part of the Republic of Ireland, not Northern Ireland) can be seen through the mist.  In the distant Northeast, when the weather is clear, some of the high cliffs of Scotland rise from the horizon- making this place another one of those Hey-Ma-I-can-see-three-differ'nt-countries places.  Wow.

From the North tip, the whole city and peninsula is visible in Portrush, Northern Ireland
The whole city seen from the cliffs

A view straight down the high cliffs in Portrush, Northern Ireland
Looking down the cliffs

Edit:  A link to this post was posted to #Portrush Daily via @portrushni on Twitter.  Thanks for linking and thanks for reading.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please leave a comment, we'd love to hear what you think! Comments are word verified to prevent SPAM.