The Northern Irish seaside town of Portrush has been attracting tourists since the 1800s.
Growing up there, I spent my summers bodyboarding at its beaches, clambering over rocks beneath the cliffs at Ramore Head and going “jumping in” – leaping from a jetty into the harbour.
An hour’s drive from Belfast City and International airports, and accessible by train from the capital, Portrush is ideally placed for clients visiting Northern Ireland who are keen to twin a city break with a jaunt to the seaside.
Next July, the town will be placed firmly on the map – particularly among golfing fans – when the Open Championship takes place at the Royal Portrush Golf Club with its challenging links courses, the Dunluce and the Valley.
Established in 1888, Royal Portrush has hosted several of the sport’s most prestigious tournaments and in 1951 it was the first club outside of the UK mainland to host the Open.
Yet there’s plenty to entertain visitors off the course too. Portrush is also known for its Blue Flag accredited beaches, the West and East Strands, where clients can learn to surf at Troggs Surf School or simply enjoy a picnic on the powdery sands.
Portrush Harbour, the heart of the town, offers deep-sea fishing, sailing and diving charters – and an abundance of restaurants and bars too. Suggest clients stop off at the Yacht Club for a dram of whiskey or pop into the Harbour Bar for a pint of Guinness by its roaring fire. For something more substantial, the Ramore Restaurants offer a range of delicious cuisine at affordable prices.
For families, Barry’s Amusements – the largest theme park in Northern Ireland – has plenty of child-friendly and more extreme rides available.
The town plays host to events throughout the year too, including the Air Waves Portrush air show in September, the North West 200 motorcycle race in May and the Champion of Champions Scottish bagpipe competition in August.
Music is a big part of life in Portrush, and I would thoroughly recommend clients check out the Atlantic Bar & Lounge (my local), for a live performance from both amateurs and internationally renowned acts.
As memories of Northern Ireland’s turbulent past fade, as well as the Open making a return in 2019, the town’s popularity looks set to grow further still. And with a host of nearby attractions, including the ruins of Dunluce Castle, the Giant’s Causeway and Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, there should be plenty to satisfy more intrepid travellers.
To quote 1970s Portrush band Pipeline, “it’s the sweetest little spot there ever was”.