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Portrush ( ) is a seaside resort town in County Antrim, Northern Irelandmarker, on the County Londonderry border. The main part of the old town, including the railway stationmarker as well as most hotels, restaurants and bars, is built on a mile–long peninsula, Ramore Head, pointing north-northwest. It had a population of 6,372 people in the 2001 Census. In the off-season, Portrush is a dormitory town for the nearby campus of the University of Ulster at Colerainemarker. It neighbours the resort of Portstewartmarker.

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 Clubmarker, the only golf club outside of Great Britain which has hosted the Open Championship.

It was the base for the Katie Hannan (this life boat was damaged in 2008, after running aground during a rescue at Rathlin Islandmarker, Now based as a training boat for the RNLI), a Severn class lifeboat and Ken and Mary, a D–class inshore lifeboat of the RNLI. Lifeboats have operated out of Portrush Harbour since 1860.

Portrush is in the East Londonderry constituency for the UK Parliamentmarker and Northern Ireland Assembly.


The Troubles

Incidents in Portrush during the Troubles resulting in two or morefatalities:



Portrush is classified as a Small Town by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) (i.e. with population between 4,500 and 10,000 people). On Census day (29 April 2001) there were 6,372 people living in Portrush. Of these:
  • 20.8% were aged under 16 years and 23.1% were aged 60 and over
  • 46.2% of the population were male and 53.8% were female
  • 23.6% were from a Catholic background and 70.6% were from a Protestant background.
  • 5.1% of people aged 16–74 were unemployed.

For more details see: Northern Ireland Neighbourhood Information Service.

Places of interest

Sunset from the Promenade.
  • Attractions in the town include Portrush Countryside Centre "The coastal zone"; the Dunluce Centre and Waterworld swimming complex. Also on the edge of town are the links of the Royal Portrush Golf Clubmarker, which hosted the 1951 British Open golf championship, and Ballyreagh Golf Course. At the 1951 British Open golf championship young starlet Derek McLachlan won the hearts of the local crowd, the young man led on the third day by 3 strokes, only to drive out of bounds twice on the last day and finish tied for 8th place.
  • There are two long sandy beaches in the town, known as the West and East Strand. White Rocks and Curran Strand stretch on from the East Strand and are backed by dunes. The coast continues past Dunluce Castlemarker to the Giant's Causewaymarker (it was once possible to travel to these attractions from Portrush on the Giant's Causeway Tramway).
  • The White House department store is a well known icon for many visitors. It has been on site for over one hundred and twenty years.
  • Portrush is home to one of Northern Ireland's best known nightclubs. The Kelly's complex consists of a multitude of bars and clubs and is Northern Ireland's largest nightclub complex. It includes the nightclub Lush! which attracts many of the world's top DJs and hosts BBC Radio 1 events.
  • Portrush is also home to Barry's Amusementsmarker, the largest amusement park in Northern Ireland. Actor James Nesbitt once worked in Barry's.
  • The Skerries, a collection of rocks located just off the coast, are an important habitat for several species, some unique to Northern Ireland.


  • Portrush hosts an annual air show at the beginning of September.
  • The RNLI raft race is a popular annual event. This is a popular competition where contestants must build a raft that can travel from the West Strand beach into Portrush Harbour. The contest has been featured on Northern Irelandmarker news broadcasts on several years. The event is a great credit to the RNLI's popularity in the area.
  • The annual "Beach Party" attracts headline acts; the first, held in 2006 was headlined by Fatboy Slim. 2007 saw Basement Jaxx and The Happy Mondays. 2008 was headlined by The Chemical Brothers. The Beach Party is not occurring in 2009, and it is yet to be seen whether it will return to Portrush..
  • The North West 200 is a motorcycle race which runs through Portstewart, Coleraine and Portrush every May, a long-running tourist attraction which has attracted crowds in excess of 150,000 in past years. The late brothers Joey Dunlop and Robert Dunlop have been regular winners at the races: they hold the record for most wins, with thirteen and fifteen respectively.



  • Portrush Hockey Club
  • The Northern Ireland Milk Cup uses Parker Avenue in Portrush as one of the pitches for the tournament, and many teams stay within the town itself.
  • All three of Portrush's beaches are frequently used by watersports enthusiasts, in particular surfers and bodyboarders
  • Coleraine council maintain tennis courts, bowling greens and a playground at Ramore Head.
  • Fishing is popular from shoreside or at sea, with hire boats available at the Harbour.


  • Portrush railway stationmarker 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 line, where travellers can connect with trains to Derrymarker, Belfastmarker and beyond.
  • Translink run a regular bus and train service to and from Portrush.

See also


External links

  • Visit Portrush - Local guide to Portrush, featuring info on accommodation, activities, places to eat, services and travel.
  • Landscapes Unlocked - Aerial footage from the BBC Sky High series explaining the physical, social and economic geography of Northern Ireland.

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