New heritage app for Portrush

Sarah Travers launches the Portrush Heritage App with Portrush pirate Tavish Dhu and Chairman John McNally .
Sarah Travers launches the Portrush Heritage App with Portrush pirate Tavish Dhu and Chairman John McNally .

Visitors to Portrush can now enjoy a unique guided journey through the town’s rich history.

The new ‘Discover Portrush Heritage Experience’, developed by Portrush Heritage Group, features 22 bespoke granite trail markers, a free 64-page guide book and mobile App which tell the story of the much-loved resort, its people and places.

Supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, Department for Communities and Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, it provides an opportunity for people to experience the natural and cultural heritage of Portrush in an engaging and interactive way.

John McNally, Chairman of Portrush Heritage Group explained: “As a group of volunteers we are committed to raising awareness and appreciation of local heritage and we are delighted to see this come to fruition in such a tangible way through this project.

“With the impending arrival of The 148th Open, it is a very exciting time for Portrush, and we really want to share the town’s rich story with our visitors and residents. This includes its connection to golf and we have included a specific section in the App which charts the sport’s connection to the town for the past 130 years. As well as being a leading recreational holiday destination, Portrushshould be appreciated for its heritage and history which add an exciting new dimension to its appeal.

“We are hugely grateful to all our supporters who have made this project possible and we look forward to sharing it with the local community and visitors.”

Speaking at the launch event, Jim McGreevy from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “Portrush is held in high regard by both local people and the hordes of visitors who come to enjoy this special place all year round. We are delighted to be involved in this new offering to help the local community showcase the town’s lesser-known heritage and give visitors an insight into its unique past.”

The App, which is available for download on both Apple and Android platforms, features well-known media personalities Sarah Travers, Anne Marie McAleese and Stephen Watson as the main guides along with a host of other voices from the community including 90-year-old Roy Hardyman. Users can enjoy their audio commentary and accompanying text which bring different parts of the resort to life while also evoking memories of a by-gone era.

Some of the highlights of this heritage journey include:

* The world-famous fossil embedded dolerite stones of the Lansdowne foreshore, the basalt pile that is Ramore Head, the imposing White Rocks and the Middle Bronze Age village of Corrstown.

* The “Golden Years” following the development of Portrush as a Harbour and Commercial Port in 1835 and the arrival of the Railway in 1855, followed by the emergence of Grand Hotels frequented by the great and good of the day. The Portrush to Giant’s Causeway Hydro-electric Trams in 1883 and Portrush institutions including Barry’s Amusements and the Arcadia Ballroom will also feature.

* Portrush Lifeboat with its history of rescues, heroic bravery and sad losses along with the long tradition of swimming, rowing and diving competitions at the Harbour and the Blue Pool together with regattas at East and West Bay.

Thanking all those who contributed to the project, John added: “We decided on our content after holding a public consultation event in Portrush where we asked the community to tell us what aspects of the town’s history were important to them. This generated much debate about dates, historical content, myths, legends and folklore before we finally settled on about 17,000 words of text and complementary images.

“After a lot of research and planning we are now able to share this heritage experience with the public and we hope it’s helps to create a better understanding of why Portrush is such a special place.”

To download the free App and start the heritage journey search ‘Discover Portrush’. Find out more about Portrush Heritage Group on their Discover Portrush website or Facebook page.