Portballintrae is a popular seaside village situated just off the Causeway Coastal Route Road, to the north of Bushmills and to the east of the resorts of Portrush and Portstewart. It boasts a sheltered harbour, a geological ASSI, quiet beach, a plethora of interesting rock pools and a beautifully situated nine-hole golf course. Its close proximity to Bushmills and the Giant's Causeway make it an excellent base from which to explore the Causeway Coast and the wider extended area of the North Coast of Northern Ireland.
Portballintrae – ‘the landing place at the town on the Strand’ – occupies a special place among Northern Ireland’s seaside resorts. Seven miles east of Portrush and a mile from the distillery town of Bushmills, Portballintrae has a charming village atmosphere. Portballintrae, like many Irish coastal villages, began life as a cluster of whitewashed fishermen's cottages around a picturesque bay. Nowadays, Portballintrae still features a number of buildings of historical and architectural interest, like Seaport Lodge, built in the 1770s by the Leslie family as a bathing lodge.
During the summer the sheltered little harbour, with its bathers, small craft and water-skiers, is a scene of bustling activity, as is the little sandy cove just round the corner. Part of Portballintrae Bay is another Geological Area of Special Scientific Interest, and a craggy area for exploring rock pools. More sedate visitors can enjoy the small but challenging 9-hole course at Bushfoot and permits can be obtained for excellent trout and salmon fishing on the River Bush.
With a bountiful river and sea it was natural that the Bush valley should have been a favoured location for early man. Lissanduff Earthworks overlooking the river mouth are evidence of its long history, but Portballintrae’s place in more recent history was as a base for the team that located and spent two years recovering the treasure of the Spanish Armada galleas Girona. The outstanding collection, along with comprehensive interpretive material, is on display in the Ulster Museum in Belfast.
Newly established in 2002, is the Giant’s Causeway and Bushmills Railway. This pleasure train ride runs between Bushmills and the Causeway, crossing the River Bush and a scenic part of coastline including Bushfoot Golf Club. Set in the tracks of the old Causeway Tram, the railway has a cycle route and footpath running parallel.
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