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On the beach - geograph.org.uk - 53193.jpg
Planes on the beach during the yearly air show
United Kingdom Northern Ireland adm location map.svg
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Location within Northern Ireland
Population6,454 (Census 2011)
Irish grid reference C855409
  Belfast 50 miles (80 km)
Country Northern Ireland
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town PORTRUSH
Postcode district BT56
Dialling code 028
Police Northern Ireland
Fire Northern Ireland
Ambulance Northern Ireland
UK Parliament
NI Assembly
List of places
Northern Ireland
55°12′17″N6°39′08″W / 55.20474°N 6.65222°W / 55.20474; -6.65222 Coordinates: 55°12′17″N6°39′08″W / 55.20474°N 6.65222°W / 55.20474; -6.65222

Portrush (from Irish : Port Rois, meaning 'port of the promontory ') [3] is a small seaside resort town on the north coast of County Antrim, Northern Ireland. It neighbours the resort of Portstewart. The main part of the old town, including the railway station as well as most hotels, restaurants and bars, is built on a mile–long peninsula, Ramore Head. It had a population of 6,454 people at the 2011 Census. [4] In the off-season, Portrush is a dormitory town for the nearby campus of the University of Ulster at Coleraine.


The town is well known for its three sandy beaches, the West Strand, East Strand and White Rocks, as well as the Royal Portrush Golf Club, the only golf club outside Great Britain which has hosted The Open Championship in 1951 and 2019.

RNLI lifeboats have operated out of Portrush Harbour since 1860, and currently stationed there are the Severn class William Gordon Burr and the D-class inshore vessel David Roulston.


Portrush Harbour c.1900 HarbourPortrush2.jpg
Portrush Harbour c.1900
Portrush Chapel, Ireland (1850) Portrush Chapel, Ireland (VII, p.31, March 1950) - Copy.jpg
Portrush Chapel, Ireland (1850)

A number of flint tools found during the late 19th century show that the site of Portrush was occupied during the "Larnian" (late Irish Mesolithic) period; [6] recent estimates date this to around 4000 BC. [7]

The site of Portrush, with its excellent natural defences, probably became a permanent settlement around the 12th or 13th century. A church is known to have existed on Ramore Head at this time, but no part of it now survives. From the records of the papal taxation of 1306, the Portrush church – and by extension the village – appears to have been reasonably wealthy. The promontory also held two castles, at varying periods. The first of these, Caisleán an Teenie, is believed to have been at the tip of Ramore Head, and probably destroyed in the late 16th century; the other, Portrush Castle, may have been built around the time of the Plantation of Ulster in the early 17th century. Nothing survives of either castle. [8]

Following the Wars of the Three Kingdoms in the mid-17th century, Portrush became a small fishing town. It grew heavily in the 19th century as a tourist destination, following the opening of the Ballymena, Ballymoney, Coleraine and Portrush Junction Railway in 1855, and by the turn of the 20th century had become one of the major resort towns of Ireland, with a number of large hotels and boarding houses including the prominent Northern Counties Hotel. As well as the town's beaches and the Royal Portrush Golf Club (opened 1888), the nearby Giant's Causeway was a popular tourist destination, with the Giant's Causeway Tramway – at the time, one of the world's longest electrified railways – built in 1893 to cater to travellers coming from Portrush.

The town's fortunes peaked in the late 19th and early 20th century, and declined after the Second World War with the growth of foreign travel. It escaped any involvement in the Troubles until 3 August 1976, when a series of bombings of properties burned out and destroyed several buildings, though with no loss of life. [9] In a second attack in April 1987, two officers of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) were shot in the back by the Provisional Irish Republican Army while on foot patrol on Main Street. [10]


On Census day (27 March 2011) there were 6,454 people living in Portrush (2,824 households), accounting for 0.36% of the NI total. [4] Of these:


Climate data for Portrush (8m elevation) 1981–2010
Average high °C (°F)7.9
Average low °C (°F)3.2
Average rainfall mm (inches)85.6
Average rainy days (≥ 1.0 mm)17.212.615.411.512.111.913.414.416.117.917.816.3176.7
Mean monthly sunshine hours 50.970.2109.6178.2221.6175.0152.9137.3124.196.153.937.31,407.3
Source: metoffice.gov.uk [11]

Places of interest

Portrush's West Strand Beach. Portrush East Strand Beach.jpg
Portrush's West Strand Beach.


Portrush panorama.jpg
A panorama of Portrush


The following schools are in Portrush: [18]


Portrush. Portrush, County Antrim.jpg



Portrush railway station was opened on 4 December 1855 and closed for goods traffic on 20 September 1954. The station is the last stop on the Coleraine-Portrush railway line, where travellers can connect with trains to Derry, Belfast and beyond. [20]

Portrush is a busy seaside resort, with a frequent train service run by Northern Ireland Railways connecting with Ulsterbus services linking to Bushmills and the Giant's Causeway.

See also

Related Research Articles

County Antrim County in Northern Ireland

County Antrim is one of six counties that form Northern Ireland. Adjoined to the north-east shore of Lough Neagh, the county covers an area of 3,046 square kilometres (1,176 sq mi) and has a population of about 618,000. County Antrim has a population density of 203 people per square kilometre or 526 people per square mile. It is also one of the thirty-two traditional counties of Ireland, as well as part of the historic province of Ulster.

County Londonderry County in Ireland

County Londonderry, also known as County Derry, is one of the six counties of Northern Ireland, one of the thirty two counties of Ireland and one of the nine counties of Ulster. Before the partition of Ireland, it was one of the counties of the Kingdom of Ireland from 1613 onward and then of the United Kingdom after the Acts of Union 1800. Adjoining the north-west shore of Lough Neagh, the county covers an area of 2,074 km2 and today has a population of about 247,132.

Bushmills Human settlement in Northern Ireland

Bushmills is a village on the north coast of County Antrim, Northern Ireland. Bushmills had 1,295 inhabitants in the 2011 Census. It is located 60 miles (97 km) from Belfast, 11 miles (18 km) from Ballycastle and 9 miles (14 km) from Coleraine. The village owes its name to the River Bush and to a large watermill that was built there in the early 17th century. It is home to the Old Bushmills Distillery, which produces Irish whiskey, and is near the Giant's Causeway.

Coleraine Human settlement in Northern Ireland

Coleraine is a town and civil parish near the mouth of the River Bann in County Londonderry, Northern Ireland. It is 55 miles (88.5 km) northwest of Belfast and 30 miles (48.3 km) east of Derry, both of which are linked by major roads and railway connections. It is part of Causeway Coast and Glens district.

Portstewart Human settlement in Northern Ireland

Portstewart is a small town in County Londonderry, Northern Ireland. It had a population of 8,003 people in the 2011 Census. It is a seaside resort neighbouring Portrush. Its harbour and scenic coastal paths form an Atlantic promenade leading to a two-miles beach, popular with holidaymakers in summer and surfers year-round.

Ballymoney Human settlement in Northern Ireland

Ballymoney is a small town and civil parish in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. It is within the Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council area. The civil parish of Ballymoney is situated in the historic baronies of Dunluce Upper and Kilconway in County Antrim, and the barony of North East Liberties of Coleraine in County Londonderry. It had a population of 10,402 people in the 2011 Census.

Coleraine Borough Council Human settlement in Northern Ireland

Coleraine Borough Council was a local council mainly in County Londonderry and partly in County Antrim in Northern Ireland. It merged with Ballymoney Borough Council, Limavady Borough Council and Moyle District Council in May 2015 under local government reorganisation in Northern Ireland to become Causeway Coast and Glens District Council

Royal Portrush Golf Club

Royal Portrush Golf Club is a private golf club in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. The 36-hole club has two links courses, the Dunluce Links and the Valley Links. The former is one of the courses on the rota of the Open Championship and last hosted the tournament in 2019.

Giants Causeway Tramway

The Giant's Causeway Tramway, operated by the Giant's Causeway, Portrush and Bush Valley Railway & Tramway Company Ltd, was a pioneering 3 ft narrow gauge electric railway operating between Portrush and the Giant's Causeway on the coast of County Antrim, Northern Ireland. The line, 9+14 miles (14.9 km) long, was hailed at its opening as "the first long electric tramway in the world". The Giant's Causeway and Bushmills Railway today operates diesel and steam tourist trains over part of the Tramway's former course.

Castlerock Human settlement in Northern Ireland

Castlerock is a seaside village in County Londonderry, Northern Ireland. It is situated five miles west of Coleraine, and is part of Causeway Coast and Glens district. It is very popular with summer tourists, having numerous apartment blocks and two caravan sites. Castlerock Golf Club has both 9-hole and 18-hole links courses bounded by the beach, the River Bann and the Belfast to Derry railway line. The village had a recorded population of 1,287 people in the 2011 census, and is where near by village Articlave F.C play their home games.

Kilrea Human settlement in Northern Ireland

Kilrea is a village, townland and civil parish in County Londonderry, Northern Ireland. It gets its name from the ancient church that was located near to where the current Church of Ireland is located on Church Street looking over the town. It is near the River Bann, which marks the boundary between County Londonderry and County Antrim. In the 2011 Census it had a population of 2,724 people. It is situated within Causeway Coast and Glens district.

Portballintrae Human settlement in Northern Ireland

Portballintrae is a small seaside village in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. It is four miles east of Portrush and two miles west of the Giant's Causeway. In the 2001 Census it had a population of 734 people, a decline of 10% compared to 1991. It lies within the Causeway Coast and Glens District Council area.

Coleraine–Portrush line

The Coleraine–Portrush line is a short branch railway line in Northern Ireland between the town of Coleraine in County Londonderry and the seaside resort of Portrush in County Antrim. The line, which is operated by Northern Ireland Railways, has two intermediate halts and connects to the main Belfast–Derry line at Coleraine.

Portrush railway station

Portrush railway station is the terminus of the Coleraine-Portrush railway line and serves the seaside town of Portrush, County Antrim, Northern Ireland.

Ulster University at Coleraine Campus of the University of Ulster

The Ulster University at Coleraine is a campus of Ulster University in Coleraine, County Londonderry, Northern Ireland. It houses the administrative headquarters of the university and is the most traditional in outlook, with a focus on science and the humanities. It was founded in 1968 as the New University of Ulster and was later known as the University of Ulster at Coleraine until October 2014 when it was rebranded with the rest of the university to be known as Ulster University at Coleraine. The Coleraine campus is situated on the banks of the River Bann in Coleraine with views to the Causeway Coast and the hills of County Donegal to the West.

Portstewart Golf Club

Portstewart Golf Club consists of three 18-hole courses situated in the town of Portstewart, County Londonderry, Northern Ireland. Golf was first played there as far back as 1889.

Ulster railways, present and past, include:

Causeway Coast and Glens Local government district in Northern Ireland

Causeway Coast and Glens is a local government district covering most of the northern part of Northern Ireland. It was created on 1 April 2015 by merging the Borough of Ballymoney, the Borough of Coleraine, the Borough of Limavady and the District of Moyle. The local authority is Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council.

Portstewart Tramway

The 3 ft narrow gauge Portstewart Tramway operated tramway services between Portstewart and Portstewart railway station at Cromore from 1882 to 1926.

Cromore railway station

Cromore railway station served the seaside resort of Portstewart in County Londonderry, Northern Ireland.


  1. Dunluce Castle US NI Department of the Environment. Retrieved 21 September 2012.
  2. "Port Rois/Portrush". Logainm.ie. Retrieved 23 March 2018.
  3. "Place Names NI - Home". www.placenamesni.org.
  4. 1 2 "Census 2011 Population Statistics for Portrush Settlement". Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA). Retrieved 6 August 2019.
  5. "Portrush Chapel, Ireland". Wesleyan Juvenile Offering. London: Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society. VII: 31. March 1850. Retrieved 19 November 2015.
  6. JSTOR   25506293, p. 244; JSTOR   25513788, p. 238-242
  7. JSTOR   25800527, p. 249
  8. "Cite information" (PDF). www.qub.ac.uk. Retrieved 8 September 2019.
  9. Melaugh, Dr Martin. "CAIN: Chronology of the Conflict 1976". cain.ulst.ac.uk. Retrieved 23 March 2018.
  10. Melaugh, Dr Martin. "CAIN: Chronology of the Conflict 1987". cain.ulst.ac.uk. Retrieved 23 March 2018.
  11. "Climate Normals 1981–2010". Met Office. Retrieved 24 February 2021.
  12. "Education at The Coastal Zone Portrush". UK: doeni.gov.uk. Archived from the original on 20 October 2013. Retrieved 19 August 2014.
  13. Golf magazine, August 2019
  14. "Portrush East Strand Sculpture: To the People of the Sea by Holger Lonze". www.peopleofthesea.info.
  15. "Web Hosting, Reseller Hosting & Domain Names from Heart Internet". niinternationalairshow.co.uk.
  16. "Portrush Royal National Lifeboat Institution website".[ permanent dead link ]
  17. "BBC Mobile - BBC Sport - N Ireland - North West 200 - About NW200". news.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 23 March 2018.
  18. "Schools in Portrush". schools-search.co.uk. Retrieved 19 August 2019.
  19. Doward, Jamie (21 September 2014). "The real-life triumphs of the gay communist behind hit movie Pride". The Guardian .
  20. "Portrush station" (PDF). Railscot – Irish Railways. Retrieved 28 August 2007.

Further reading