Portrush, in Northern Ireland is a quintessential seaside town, complete with it’s own fun fair by the beach. Although I’m sure most of the year it’s likely windy and blustery, on our perfect-weather-weekend it was just bliss.
The colour of the water, and the clarity is enough to make me want to launch in fully clothed, if I hadn’t prior knowledge that it was a very chilly 10C degrees!
We spent our morning lazily wandering along the beach at Portrush, and our afternoon exploring the ruins of Dunluce Castle, sitting so close to the sea cliff that rumour has it part of it fell in!
We had a spot of brunch at picture perfect Arcadia, fancy a coffee where you can hear the waves lap beneath your feet?
A short scenic drive brought us to Dunluce Castle, perched on the edge of a cliff and poised to topple in. First built in the 13th Century then adapted and “modernised” by the Scottish MacDonnell family in the 16th century, now transformed into this rather romantic clifftop ruin. I tried to establish when and under what circumstances it became ruined, but all answers seemed a bit vague, likely with the fall of power of the MacDonnell family the castle was left to be worn away by the elements.
However the circumstances, the ruins cling picturesquely to the cliffside, which is grassy and prettily sprinkled with tiny coloured wildflowers. The main part of the castle actually sits on a tiny island outcrop, connected now by a bridge, but it isn’t hard to imagine the drawbridge and the guards in the Jacobean gatehouse. A wander around the ruins was quite enjoyable and educational – and keep an eye out for the distinctive hexagonal causeway stones, lifted from the UNESCO world heritage site centuries ago to become castle building blocks.
For our final evening in Portrush we had dinner and sunset cocktails at Tides, a restaurant perched on a cliff (seeing a trend here!) with an expansive and spectacular view over Portrush and the surrounding Atlantic ocean. On a clear evening such as this, you can see the blue misty outlines of Southern Ireland and Scotland.