Portrush is a small close-packed surfing town on a peninsula on Ireland's north coast. The narrow streets and small shops slope down both sides of the peninsula to an East Beach and a West Beach.
We dragged our luggage a few short blocks from the train station, along the west waterfront road, to Harbour Heights Bed & Breakfast. It's a three-storey townhouse in a row of three-storeys looking out over the harbor.
When we arrived Sam, our hostess, was standing on the front steps chatting with someone. She directed us inside to her husband, Tim. In the small entry hall we rang the bell at the flip-up counter. Tim emerged from the back and checked us in. He led us up a flight and a half of stairs to our room, carrying one of our bags.
Our room was small but comfortable and cheerful. There was a loveseat, a wardrobe, a dresser, and the bed. The bathroom was also small, but clean and bright. There was a shower but no tub.
Out the window was an unattractive space between buildings.
It's a short walk from the B&B to any place in town.
As we went out, Sam stopped us on the step to talk about the local attractions. She gave us directions to Troggs, the surf shop, and to the Harbour Bar.
At Troggs I rented a wetsuit and got advice on where to swim. The clerk said the water temperature in the harbor would be about 58 degrees. He advised me to swim at West Beach. Surfing lessons were available, but I didn't have time for it.
The Harbour Bar turned out to be a very small tap room with a dozen people looking up at the television while the barman served beer. The barman said he knew how to pour a black and tan, but he actually didn't.
We drank our beer outside; on the benches against the wall; looking at the beach, the harbor, and the town; and talking with other travelers.
The barman was Willie, an entertaining purveyor of lore and tall tales. We had heard of him even on the train from Belfast, and he was full of advice for us, especially urging us to take a table in the restaurant behind the bar.
In the restaurant, the roast duckling looked more like half a large duck, and it was crispy and good.
After supper we walked along East Beach, while the sky flamed and faded.
The next morning I went down to the West Beach, where I pulled on the wetsuit and splashed into the surf. The beautiful clear water was cold enough to take my breath away, but after a while I regained my breath and slid through the waves.
Later in the morning we took the tour bus to the Bushmillls Distillery. From Bushmills we walked to the Giants Causeway, an awesome geologic formation on the coast. From there, we took the bus back into Portrush.
After supper, back at the B&B, we had a nightcap and a chat with Sam. The next morning Tim rose early to make sure we had breakfast before we set out to catch a 7 am train.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Harbour Heights has a friendly family atmosphere. Conveniently located central to all restaurants & amenities in Portrush, overlooking the blue-flag West Strand. We aim to make your stay pleasant, comfortable & memorable for all the right reasons. We can help plan your days with advice on the area, must-see places & where best to get a good bite to eat. A fabulous Ulster fry & good craic will set you up for your adventure-filled day. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Harbour Heights Hotel Portrush
- Harbour Heights Bed And Breakfast
- Harbour Heights Bed & Breakfast Portrush, Northern Ireland