Strandmore House

Strandmore House, Portrush
Strandmore House, Portrush

Strandmore House, together with the nearby Craigvara House was built around 1860 by local philanthropist, Miss Rebecca Rice.

Rebecca was also responsible for the planning, financing and supervising the construction of the first promenade from the East Strand to the Salmon Fishery as a relief scheme for local fishermen during hard times.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy and his father, Joseph, visited Strandmore House in August 1940 whilst on a trip to the Republic of Ireland. The house was then owned by Dr Bolton and his wife Zara. Dr Bolton was captain of Royal Portrush Golf Club and his wife was captain and president of the ladies branch. Mrs Bolton was also a successful international and Curtis Cup player.

At the time Joseph Kennedy was the American Ambassador to London and the story goes that Dr Bolton and JFK shared a mutual friend. The friend told JFK to make sure to visit Dr Bolton if ever he was in Ireland. Arrangements were duly made and the Kennedys enjoyed afternoon tea at Strandmore House during their trip.

Later, in an incredible coincidence, it transpired that JFK’s sister had rented the same house – from a previous owner – for a holiday a few years prior to their visit!