Portballintrae is an idyllic village just outside Bushmills and 4 miles east of Portrush. It is close to both the Giants Causeway and Dunluce Castle. This quaint fishing village, on the edge of a horseshoe bay, is lined with cute houses and drops down the cliffedge to its peaceful, working harbour and small beach. The Giants Causeway Tramway runs through the sand dunes above the largest beach in Portballintrae, Runkerry Strand.
The name Portballintrae has it's roots in Irish meaning 'Port Bhaile an Trá' or "port of the beach settlement". As a child I spent many days in this beautiful place with family.
There is a working local fishing harbour, set in a beautiful sand and shingle bay with tall grassy cliffs. It is also a good sailing stop with great views.
Portballintrae itself has less than one thousand residents with half of the properties being second homes and holiday houses. The charming 'olde worlde' houses on the cliff top make a memorable sight. From the cliffs you'll see amazing views of the bay and the Atlantic Ocean.
With the varied fishing boats in the harbour it's always looks like a serene scene from an oil painting.
You get to Portballintrae or Salmon Rocks Beach, via Beach Road. The headland has a large car park, picnic tables, toilets and a shop.
Swimming and surfing is not recommended at Portballintrae Beach. However neighbouring Runkerry Strand is 'One of the best surfing beaches in the UK, the waves vary between a low 2ft in summer and a massive 12ft during stormy weather' according to www.coastradar.com
From the cliff you will see the most amazing views over the basalt cliffs and headlands of Runkerry Point, with a gorgeous view of the awesome Runkerry House, a stately home built in the 1860's for Sir Edward Macnaghten, who was a barrister and politician from London. This sandstone building is now private apartments.
Portballintrae has great historical significance. The 'Earthenworks' at Lissanduff is thought to be the remains of the houses and fortifications of very early Irish settlers, although no one seems certain of the exact time period.
Portballintrae also lays claim to the biggest treasure trove ever uncovered from a sunken ship from the Spanish Armada. The 'Girona' was wrecked off the north Antrim Coast in October 1588 and divers, in 1967, found heaps of treasure, gold and other relics of the time under the ocean. These historical treasures are on display at the Ulster Museum in Belfast.
The impressive white building on the headland overlooking the west of the bay is 'Seaport Lodge' which was originally build around 1770 by James Leslie, as a bathing house. As a child I always imagined who could be 'lucky enough' to live there!
The IceHouse is the oldest standing building in Portballintrae. The old stables and coach house of the Leslie family is now a wine bar called Sweeney's on Seaport Road.
The Long established Caravan Park is in an amazing location just behind Bayhead Road.
You can play a round of golf or Pitch & Putt at the Bushfoot Golf Club, which has been around for 120 years. They also have a Restaurant and Bar.
Portballintrae is definitely quaint, it brings back great memories for me and I am sure you will enjoy a trip there, it's worth it!
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