House Sitting In Portrush Northern Ireland
I have just completed my first house sitting assignment in Northern Ireland, in Portrush, on the Causeway Coast. Although I live in Northern Ireland I generally head to warmer climates but, for a change, I thought it would be nice to explore a bit more of my own country. House sitting in Northern Ireland seems to be catching on, I have noticed an increase in sits advertised since I began in 2018.
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I picked Portrush because it is where I went to college 48 years ago and I was intrigued to see how it had changed in the intervening years. If you are interested in the ramblings and reminiscing of a old woman then you simply must read Saturday Selfie – Revisiting My Portrush Past and you will even get to see me, aged 18 years of age, and sure I haven’t changed a bit!
A Bit About Portrush
Portrush is a small seaside town in Co Antrim, Northern Ireland and is a very popular destination for days out and summer holidays. The main part of the town is on a peninsula, Ramore Head, that stretches for a mile out into the Atlantic ocean. It is a wild and windy place in the winter but on a good day in the summer it’s the sort of place that could be considered ideal, if only the weather was always so good.
With 3 great beaches, a superb 2 links golf club (the Royal Portrush Golf Club), plus its proximity to the Giants Causeway, the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, and Dunluce Castle, Portrush has a lot to offer. If you are planning a holiday in Northern Ireland it makes a great base for visiting places like Coleraine, Londonderry/Derry, The Glens of Antrim, and many other towns in Northern Ireland plus it is an easy drive across the border into Donegal.
The wild Winter Sea
My House Sit
For me this was one of my more ‘normal’ house sits. It was in a 3 storey, very modern, townhouse with heating, hot water, laundry facilities, and lots of high tech touches. If you have been following my travels you will know by now that I am not adverse to more challenging situations, in fact I thrive on a challenge. However, given that the weather was atrocious for the few days I was there, I was very thankful for such a warm and comfortable house to spend time in.
Betsy, a gorgeous Cocker Spaniel, was wonderful company and when we weren’t out braving the wind and rain we snuggled up on the sofa to watch Netflix and catch up TV. It was a shame that the weather was so dreadful because it meant I really didn’t get out much, in fact apart from a walk with Betsy each day and a walk to the nearest grocery store I only managed to get into the town once during the 4 days I spent there.
My Day Out
During my trip out I went and explored some of my old haunts from all those years ago, the Arcadia Ballroom, the Whitehouse and the Amusement arcades. One place I want to mention in particular is the Londonderry Hotel. If you enjoy live music then it would be a good spot to visit, according the the signage on the gable wall it is ‘The Home of Live Music on The North Coast’.
Some of my Old Haunts
I then walked up around Ramore Head, fighting the wind the whole way, and back down to the comparative shelter of the harbour. I must say, the ice cream sellers in Portrush must have eternal optimism for even in the midst of a storm, in February, there were two ice cream vans parked up at Ramore Head.
Down at the harbour I was very impressed with the selection of restaurants and cafes that have developed over the years. Some of them have been there for a very long time but have been upgraded and improved on over the years and some are new. Even on such a dreadful day everywhere appeared to be very busy, it’s obviously a very popular destination for a day out, even in winter. Ramore restaurants have 6 establishments in the town offering a variety of eating options, you can check out their website at http://www.ramorerestaurants.com but there are lots more places as well, just take a look on Tripadvisor and you will be sure to find something to suit your taste.
The Harbour Bar – Doggie Friendly
The one place that I set out to find was The Harbour Bar because it featured in my walk down memory lane and I was delighted to discover it was still there. Now renamed the Harbour Bistro and Woodburning Grill it offered a very welcome refuge from the wind and rain.
On entering I found the front bar pretty much unchanged. The two small rooms were packed with people dressed in raincoats, woolly hats and walking boots. The nicotine stained walls (a relic from the days when people smoked in pubs) are still adorned with all manner of photographs and posters and a coal fire burns merrily in the back room.
Upstairs there is now a very up market Gin Bar, I went in before it opened to get some photos. The toilets are on the third floor, which is quite a climb, but certainly beats the outdoor toilet that existed all those years ago, and there is an outdoor area at the very top with fantastic views, on a good day, out across the harbour.
Everywhere I looked there were dogs! They were under the tables, on the seats beside their owners, sleeping in front of the fire, or posing for photographs. There was a great atmosphere as everyone dried off while supping a pint or two or partaking of a glass of wine. I decided it was the sort of place that I could quite easily join in the conversations and so I got myself a half pint of lager and sat down on the nearest empty seat.
A conversation ensued with the couple beside me which then extended to include the people at the opposite table and a man who arrived with his dog just after I sat down. As everyone warmed up the smell of wet dog mingled with the smell of wet clothing and there was much discussion about what a great dog friendly place it is.
After a while one of the barmen came out with treats for all the dogs and there was much excitement as he went round each dog giving it a treat and taking some photos for people. He obviously really enjoys his job and remarked that he much preferred dogs to people.
After an hour or so I was getting extremely peckish and although I had planned on getting a taxi back to the house I decided instead to pop into the Bistro, in the other part of the building, and have something to eat. I’m going to do a Foodie Friday post about my meal so I’ll not say anything about it for now.
Having spent more than my allocated budget for the day I decided that I really couldn’t justify getting a taxi home so I walked home in torrential rain and arrived dripping wet to a very warm welcome by Betsy. If only I had known about the dog friendly bar I could have had her with me, but maybe next time!
arriving home soaked through
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