Historic Portrush house where JFK once stopped for tea valued at £1.6m

A prestigious 19th century house in Northern Ireland where John F Kennedy once dropped in for afternoon tea is up for sale.

Monday, 26th September 2016, 11:16 am
Updated Wednesday, 5th October 2016, 2:30 pm
Strandmore House in Portrush was once visited by futyre President John F Kennedy, who stopped in for afternoon tea in August 1940.

Strandmore House, a historic nine-bedroom property overlooking the picturesque East Strand in Portrush, is on the open market for £1.6m

The four-storey home is believed to have been built around 1860 by Rebecca Rice, the wealthy daughter of a property and ship owner.

It was then purchased by Dr Sloan Bolton, a surgeon who was Captain of the Royal Portrush Golf Club in 1938-40.


Fred Daly, the winner of the 1947 British Open Golf Championship, was a regular caller to Strandmore House.

But perhaps the most illustrious visitor to the property was a 23-year-old John Fitzgerald Kennedy, who would go on to become one of the best known US presidents in history.

The house is currently owned by Mr Bolton’s four sons, and one of them – who still lives in the property – said the story of JFK’s visit in August 1940 has been passed down in family legend .

Explaining how the visit came to pass, Kent Bolton told the News Letter: “JFK was on holiday in Northern Ireland with his father Joseph Kennedy, who was US ambassador to the UK at the time.

The room in Strandmore House where Dr Sloan Bolton entertained JFK and his father Joseph Kennedy.

“They went to the north coast and called in at Strandmore House, as my father and JFK’s father had a mutual friend.”

During his visit, the future president sat next to a bay window overlooking the East Strand, enjoying a cup of tea and discussing rugby.

“My dad was a rugby fanatic who had played for Coleraine Inst and had been tipped to play for Ireland as well, so they spent the afternoon talking about that,” Mr Bolton added.

“Of course, JFK was a virtual unknown at the time, and it was only years later that his visit was even remembered.”


But the connection between Strandmore House and the Kennedy clan does not end there, as Mr Bolton explained: “Amazingly, it was later discovered that, before my father had bought the property, JFK’s sister had rented the house for a summer.”

Despite his family’s long history in the storied property, Mr Bolton, aged 71, felt now is the “right time to move on”.

Further information about Strandmore House is available from R Benson & Sons. The firm can be cotnacted on 028 7034 3677 or via www.rbensonandson.com

The room in Strandmore House where Dr Sloan Bolton entertained JFK and his father Joseph Kennedy.