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Britain > N.Ireland > Co.Antrim > Portrush

Northern Ireland's biggest and best seaside resort


White Rocks Beach
Barry's Amusements
Portrush Coastal Zone
Most of Portrush, including its restaurants, hotels and train station, is situated along a mile-long peninsula jutting out from the coast. It looks like a gigantic, natural pier, so perhaps it's no wonder this became Northern Ireland's best seaside resort.

Portrush Terrace.
Photo Kyle Monahan
There are 3 beaches within easy walking distance. The West and East Strands are long, wide and full of soft sand. A little further away is White Rocks Beach, a place that should be treated with a bit more respect. The riptides can be dangerous to the unaware, so it's worth taking care in the water. The white rocks themselves are similarly wild cliff formations, staring defiantly at the breaking waves. Hundreds of birds live at sea level, where networks of caves form dark mazes that most humans will never explore.

Portrush Beach.
Photo ggjsmith
Back in town, you'll find all the standard entertainment options available in every seaside resort - but in Portrush, everything is a little special. Barry's Amusements, for example, isn't just a theme park; it's the biggest on the entire Irish island. Inside is everything from hair-raising rollercoasters to a traditional fairground coconut shy.

Barrys Amusements.
Photo antwerpenR
When night falls, Portrush's bars and clubs begin to fill up. The most popular by far is the huge Kelly's Nightclub complex, which attracts party-goers from all across the entire country. There are several venues but the biggest is called "Lush!". It regularly hosts world-famous DJs, whose performances are sometimes broadcast on BBC Radio 1.

Fatboy Slim at Portrush Beach Party.
Photo vectorfunk
Another local landmark is the White House department store, which has been going for so long that it counts Queen Victoria as a former customer. Nowadays they sell normal modern brands, but the place still retains its independent, local feel.
Most seaside towns have mini-golf courses, but not many have the real thing. The Royal Portrush Golf Club is among the best of the best - it's the only place outside of Great Britain to have ever hosted the Open Championship. You can have a go yourself, but don't be too disappointed if you find it hard going. This is renowned as one of the toughest golf courses on the globe, so even the professionals struggle!
Right on the waterfront is the Portrush Coastal Zone. This small, white building, with its triangular roof and dolphin decorations, has a certain cute charm. It's like a mini-aquarium, with information on the local coastline and its wildlife.
You can get thoroughly drenched yourself at Waterworld, an indoor swimming pool and amusement park. It resembles an aquatic adventure playground, with water cannons, slides and even a pirate ship.
Of course, you wouldn't want to meet a real pirate. In the past, victims of those nautical outlaws often had to be picked up by lifeboat. Portrush has been a base for such rescues since way back in 1860. Nowadays this is a major outpost for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. When they're not rescuing people in danger, they train lifeguards for future emergencies.
The RNLI run an annual raft race between West Strand beach and Portrush Harbour. The twist is that participants must build their transport themselves. The event helps to raise awareness of water safety. Other events on the town's busy calendar include music festivals, a motorbike race and an air show.
Visitor Information
Portrush Tourist Information, Dunluce Centre, Sandhill Drive, Portrush, BT56 8BF. Tel: 028 7082 3333
Barrys Amusements is open daily, during June, July And August (times vary), plus limited opening at during other times of the year. Entry is free, with payment for rides via tokens. Tel: 028 7082 2340

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