Portrush is a fun loving seaside town that grew from a small fishing village into a very popular holiday destination for Northern Ireland locals and those from all around the world. It has been in vogue since Victorian times. Portrush has beautiful beaches filled with friendly people and tons of activities for people of all ages.
Portrush is a peaceful yet action packed vacation set in spectacular surrounding scenery, with something to please the entire family, all year round! It is 5 miles north of Coleraine, in between Portstewart and Portballintrae.
Home to under 7000 people full time, the University of Ulster students and visitors to the town increase it's numbers up to 20,000 in the summer months.
Portrush is set on a mile long peninsula with glorious beaches either side and an impressive rocky edge for its northern rim. There are three main roads running parallel to each other from the base of the peninsula to it's top. The bottom road is the seafront road Kerr Street with pedestrian zones, Barry's Amusements, the largest amusement park in Northern Ireland and Portrush Harbour. The Upper Road is Main Street with arcades, restaurants and shops and Mark Street in the middle and has mostly houses and apartments. All three roads lead to the top of the Portrush Peninsula at Ramore Head.
A walk down Main Street, is a little reminiscent of it's namesake in Disneyland! This street is dedicated to fun and indulgent enjoyment with arcades, restaurants, shops, and bars. You'll pass historic iconic buildings such as the 'The White House', a Department Store that has been around for 120 years. Play bingo, slots, air hockey, arcade games, simulators, penny falls...they are all here! When you need a breath of fresh air choose one of the three spectacular Portrush Beaches!
There are only eight beaches in Northern Ireland to be awarded the Blue Flag and all three of the Portrush beaches have it, the West and East Strands in town and the Whiterocks on the coast towards Bushmills. Each beach brings it's own unique experience.
The West Strand starts in town at the harbour and stretches to 'under the railway bridge' towards Portstewart. All along the beach there is a walking and cycle path offering beautiful views of the town. There is a large car park and toilets.
This is a perfect beach for all water related activites and well as walks for yourself and your dog!
The East Strand is on the other side of the Portrush peninsula, (Ramore Head) it is a golden sandy beach over 2 miles long that is perfect for swimming, walking (including dogs) and generally admiring the sweeping views.The world famous Royal Portrush Championship Golf Course is prestigiously placed right next to the beach and ancient sand dunes. This not only provides a breathtaking game of golf but keeps the area behind the beach in pristine condition and beautifully 'green'.
The Whiterocks, provides a completely different vibe from the two 'in town' Strands. It is a continuation of the East Strand and is best known for it's white limestone chalk cliffs that are between 142 and 65 million years old. The beach is accessed by walking, cycling or driving down the winding road to the shoreline car parks. This is a popular beach for surfing. Views from the cliff tops, beach and the ocean are memorable.
Barry's Amusements, the largest amusement park in Ireland, is ideally located beside the Portrush Railway Station, at the edge of the Atlantic ocean. Barry's has been in town since 1925 and is still thriving providing hours of entertainment for all the family. I have spent many wonderful times there with the thrills of the ghost train, helter skelter, cyclone, hobby horses, dodgems and roller coasters. I even remember the uniquely wonderful smell of Barry's that I have been unable to find anywhere else. All this and most spectacular views over the Ocean.
There are lots of other man-made attractions around town including Waterworld at Harbour Rd, this is a great indoor water park with covered pools and slides all decorated with a pirate play theme. There is also a 10 Pin Bowling Alley and Cafe. There are many other Arcades around town, an Adventure Play Park at Ramore Head plus great places to eat and drink.
If you don't want crowds, avoid 'The Port' on Easter Monday when the popular seaside spot swells unbelievably with young people enjoying life... and a few drinks!
Portrush hosts an annual air show at the beginning of September.
This lively spot is the hub of local nightlife for the area. Kelly's is 'Northern Ireland's Premier Night club' based just outside of Portrush town on the coastal road towards Portballintrae. It has a lot to offer with numerous nightclubs including 'Lush' Nightclub which plays host to loads of world-famous DJ's. There is also the Atlantic Hotel, Bar and Grill. In my youth I had many good nights within the walls of Kelly's!
In summer the town is filled and has a upbeat holiday vibe as children and adults flock there. Portrush is definitely quieter in the winter months but you'll still find the holiday atmosphere even in the colder weather.
Every May the Causeway Coast hosts one of the world's fastest road races, the 'North West 200'. The public roads between Coleraine, Portrush and Portstewart get turned into high-speed (up to 200 mls per hour) tracks, one of the last of its kind in Europe. It's an unbelievably thrilling race to watch, as you stand by the side of the road to get the best views of these powerful fast bikes coming speeding by. It's a busy time for the Causeway Coast, with additional crowds of 150,000 people coming every year to watch Ireland's largest outdoor sporting event.
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