09 Jan Portstewart
Portstewart is Portrush’s closest neighbour.
The two resorts have carved out distinctive characters of their own over the centuries since their similar roots as small fishing villages.
Portstewart was named after the family whose 18th Century estate included the harbour
It is a quieter and more sedate resort.
It is linked to its neighbour Portrush by road and the Port Path !!
The town has a picturesque harbour and promenade and to the west is the sweeping two-mile stretch of Portstewart Strand. This was once home to Neolithic and early Iron Age people whose flints , arrowheads and pottery shards have been excavated from beneath the sandhills.
Portstewart is an attractive town for shopping and eating out and has a flourishing arts and cultural scene with the well established and very active Arts Centre , Flowerfield leading the way along with several art galleries and shops situiated along the Promenade.
Famous for it’s ice cream , visitors can sample a variety of home-made flavours at a number of ice-cream parlours, the famous ‘Morelli’s Ice Cream’ among them.
A simple fishing village until the early 19th century , Portstewart , under the new ownership of John Cromie , set about developing it as a ‘watering place’.
He built ‘good houses’ to accommodate summer visitors and when the railway arrived in 1855 the expansion of Portstewart really took off.
Local landowners however glad of the business the railway brought , did not want the railway lines to cross their land so the station was built a mile away from Portstewart , with a steam tram linking it to the Promenade.
Increasingly popular as a holiday centre during the 20s and 30s, Portstewart also remained a busy fishing port right up to the Second World War with a new harbour being built for the fleet. The sight of the fishing smacks setting off with the sun sinking behind the Innishowen hills in Donegal helped inspire the songwriter Jimmy Kennedy to pen the poignant ‘Red Sails in the Sunset’.
A prominent feature of the town is O’Hara’s Rock Castle , built in 1834 and later converted into a school and still in use today as part of Dominican Convent School.
Beneath this building begins a magnificent cliff walk leading to Portstewart Strand and along the way is a holy well from which St Patrick is reputed to have drunk (Tober Patrick).
At the crescent youngsters and families can enjoy a superb play pool and outdoor entertainment complex , complete with bandstand and tiered seating. Idyllic artificial lakes have motorised ‘bumper’ boats for hire , while active kids can expend their energies on climbing frames , slides and see-saws.
Other recreational facilities include two excellent 18-hole golf courses.
If you are in Belfast on a cruise ship in 2013 Portstewart is accessible with our tours of Belfast with the Giants causeway , Dunluce castle , Carrick-a-rede rope bridge , Portrush …….
If you are on Ireland tours with Ireland Luxury Tours we will certainly take you to Portstewart.