About Portrush beaches
The Northern Ireland coast is fascinating historically, dotted by resorts with one foot in the Victorian age, and crammed with spectacular scenery that includes thrusting headlands, glittering-white beaches, and hulking cliffs. Busy Portrush is a popular traditional resort, packed in summer, with lots of facilities, and its golden sands are great for seaside frolics. It is also Northern Ireland’s surfing capital.
Lovely Blue Flag Curran Strand is backed by dunes and a golf course. Its soft, golden sands stretch all the way to White Rocks beach, which is lined by dramatic limestone cliffs. These have been weatherworn over the centuries into a labyrinth of caves, arches and offshore rocks with names like the Wishing Arch and Elephant Rock. The sea glitters azure and is safe for swimming.
Beyond the beach:
Visit the epic ruins of Dunluce Castle, which crown a seaworn cliff 5km (3 miles) east of Portrush. Dating from the 14th century, but with many additions, it was the seat of the MacDonnells in the 16th and 17th centuries, and has been much besieged in its tumultuous history. In 1639 the kitchen collapsed into the sea, along with its seven cooks.
Surfing hotspot Portrush has plenty of places to hire equipment or have lessons. You can also fish here, hire boats, and horse ride, and White Sands beach has myriad caves to explore. The town is also home to Barry’s (www.barrysamusements.com), Ireland’s biggest amusement park, offering classic rides such as dodgems and a ghost train. The Dunluce Centre (www.dunlucecentre.com) is a state-of-the-art indoor adventure playground, while Waterworld (Harbour Front) offers splashy fun with slides.
The Causeway Coast Way is within easy reach of Portrush and is an exhilarating walk along dramatic coastline to Ballycastle. The route takes walkers along sandy beaches, rocky bays, craggy cliffs and quaint villages and has been declared an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The World Heritage Site of the Giant’s Causeway, the ruins of Dunluce, Dunseverick and Kinbane Castles and the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge are among the many sites encountered on this Waymarked Way.
You can dine well at 55 Degrees North, 5 Causeway Street, one of Northern Ireland’s most renowned restaurants. Plate-glass walls make the most of the dreamy coastal views, and the food is fresh, seasonal and top notch.