Portballintrae lies at the mouth of a shallow river valley which was once the outflow of melting glaciers, the harbour is well protected within a small horseshoe bay and still home port to several fishermen. There are some beautiful buildings here, especially the original thatched cottages, the Old Coastguard Station and Seaport Lodge, the latter, an excellent example of Ulster's Architectural Heritage was built in the 1770's by the Leslie family as a bathing lodge.
The village is adjacent to the Giants Causeway, designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and World Heritage Site. Bushfoot Strand which during the late 1800s hosted annual horse races is flanked by an ancient sand dune system which curves round to Runkerry House, built in the 18th century by the Macnaughten family of Dundarave. The area has had its fair share of shipwrecks including the 'Reliance' 1847, 'Thomas Graham' 1879 and in 1887 the 'Royal Standard' which foundered on Bushfoot Strand.
Portballintrae is the perfect place to explore the unique attractions of Northern Ireland's North Coast including The Giant's Causeway, Dunluce Castle and Bushmills Irish Whiskey Distillery. Close at hand are the seaside towns of Portrush and Portstewart and the excellent shopping town of Coleraine as well as many other
Dunluce Castle is sited dramatically close to the edge of a headland, along the North Antrim coast. Surrounded by jaw dropping coastal scenery, this medieval
castle stands where an early Irish fort was once built and where its history can be traced back to early Christians and Vikings. Visit and take a peek
at medieval Irish life!
he Giant's Causeway is a magnificent, mysterious geological formation on the North East coast of Co Antrim steeped in myth and legend.
The setting is a spectacular dynamic coastal landscape of Atlantic waves, rugged cliffs, fascinating geographical antiquity, secluded bays and magnificent
views. "The Causeway forms a jagged headland of neatly packed columns which point towards Scotland." Visitors can walk along the basalt columns which
are at the edge of the sea, almost two miles from the entrance to the site.
In 2008, Bushmills celebrated 400 years of local distilling history; a unique, unbroken whiskey-making tradition still very much alive today at the Old Bushmills Distillery. Just two miles from the spectacular Giant's Causeway, the distillery lies in an area of outstanding natural beauty which is rich in history and folklore. Visitor's can observe the craft and skills of making Irish whiskey. The guided tour includes the ingredients and processes, spring water from Saint Columb's Rill and the finest malted barley, to the art of triple distillation in copper stills and ageing in oak casks. Of course, no visit would be complete without enjoying a complimentary glass of Bushmills whiskey.
Darren arrives back home to Bayview Hotel, Portballintrae,Northern Ireland, the OPEN CHAMPION 2011.