Portrush has many attractions but best of all are its wonderful blue flag beaches. Its main center is a delightful town of well-maintained Georgian buildings and a picturesque harbour which still supports fishing fleets and pleasure yachts. It is not your typical bingo hall and candy floss seaside resort, as well as beaches the town is well supplied with amusements including an all weather water center and adventure playground.
Fantasy Island and Dunluce Center are indoor venues that certainly provide an outlet on rainy days with a variety of activities. Virtual reality rides and family attractions are featured in Dunluce and Water World offers flumes, slides, Jacuzzis, aquarium and restaurant all on a pirate theme. There is also an outdoor old fashioned fun fair complete with Roller coaster, Ferris wheel and other fun fair amusements in short lots of opportunities aside from beach and surf. We were there in October and so everything was closed, however, we were able to see the huge waterpark directly on the harbour as we walked around the lovely town noting nice restaurants cafes and enticing shops.
We called in at the Harbour bar for a pub lunch, just a sandwich and a side order of the black stuff found in every bar in Ireland. This old bar is close by the harbour and PortrushYacht Club. We had hoped to have a meal in the Yacht club but it was closed and as it was raining heavily we ducked into the nearest shelter. The pub (circa late 18th century) had been re-furbished. On the first and second floor are very large modern rooms one floor holds an elegant wine bar and Bistro and the top floor a nightclub. The ground floor pub had been left as it always was oozing with character and looking and smelling like a pub.
We found two dimly lit rooms with original wide plank flooring. Both rooms were adorned with photographs of sailing ships and a collection of Victoriana. All the furnishings were original, scarred oak tables, well used seating and original fireplace. Some workmen were having drinks at the bar and as that room was tiny and smoke filled we opted for the back snug room. We spent a good hour chatting with the pubs manager and he told us about a path we could take to view Dunluce castle he drew us a rough map and was so friendly we were sure he would want to show us the way, and so after lunch we set out and were grateful to note that the rain had ceased but the sky remained overcast.
The trail was a real find for us and one of our highlights. Initially it is part of the coast trail that starts at Portstewart and runs to the Causeway, Rope Bridge, and beyond.
Portrush lies on a peninsula that juts out into the wild Atlantic it is also a place popular for surfing, we noted waves of around six feet and stores selling boards and wetsuits. We strolled along the Curran Strand (East strand Beach) and accessed a signed footpath to Dunluce it is an exhilarating and scenic walk shadowed by sheer limestone cliffs that plunge into the sea. Seabirds screech above the roar of the surf and stretching along the coast is a labyrinth of caves with magical arches. The beaches are simply some of the best I have seen in Ireland. The walk to Dunluce is about three Kilometers and is an easy walk with guaranteed scenery. On clear days you will have superb views over the skerries to the Scottish islands. Do wear appropriate shoes because the paths can become very slippery and a good raincoat is a must especially in October.