Cloughorr / Golflinks Hotel

Cloughorr House on the Bushmills Road was originally a dairy farm owned by the Rankin family. Mr John Rankin also provided a milk delivery service in Portrush. The farm house was one of considerable size and Mrs Rankin began welcoming paying guests in the latter part of the 19th century.

Cloughorr Farmhouse
Cloughorr Farmhouse

Newspaper listings of guests staying in Portrush would indicate that Cloughorr House was a successful and popular guest house. The Coleraine Chronicle of Saturday 19thAugust 1899 lists the following as residents:

Mr and Mrs Crosbje, Forth, Lanarkshire; Miss Fanny Baynham, Miss Ella Baynham, Glasgow; Mr W H Watson, Edinburgh; Miss J Rose, Miss N Rose, Ibrox, Glasgow; Mr Philson, Mr Reid, Dalmellington, Ayrshire; Miss Dale, Miss M Dale, Glasgow; Messrs Alexander, John, and William Watson, Pollockshields, Glasgow; Miss Watson, Knightswood , Glasgow; Mrs Golden, Knightswood, Glasgow; Mis Williamson, Miss A Williamson, Greenock; Miss Sinclair, Miss Wallace, Edinburgh; Mr Fletcher, Mr Spence, Edinburgh; Mr Voight, Manchester; Miss McKinlay, Glasgow; Mr Turnbull, Mr Middleton, Glasgow.

The preponderance of Scottish visitors is clear, particularly from the central area of Glasgow, Edinburgh, Ayrshire and Lanarkshire. The so-called “Scotch Boats” plying daily between Portrush and Ardrossan are undoubtedly an important element in the success of Portrush as a holiday destination.

Cloughorr House
Cloughorr House and new extension.

The ongoing success of Portrush in general and Cloughorr House in particular is echoed in the “Portrush Notes” in the Coleraine Chronicle dated Saturday 14th November 1908 which reports a letter from a Glasgow reader regarding a reunion of Cloughorr House guests, in the form of an “At Home” on 31st October 1908 in a Glasgow venue. Some 100 ladies and gentlemen gathered for an evening of dancing, literary readings and singing as “an expression of gratitude to Mr & Mrs John Rankin and their family”.

With the ever increasing interest in golf and the numbers of golfers seeking accommodation in the town, Cloughorr House was enlarged by the addition of a three storey extension at one end of the original house. With the moving of the golf courses to their current locations and ultimately the opening of a new clubhouse just across the road from Cloughorr House business continued to be brisk.

By the 1950s Cloughorr House had become The Golflinks Hotel and with the changing demands of holidaymakers, the farm land started to be developed as a caravan site. The hotel was now in the ownership of the Kelly family and throughout the 1960s, 70s, 80, and 90s the outbuildings were renovated and subsumed into the hotel to become a music and disco venue known across Ireland, and beyond, as “Kelly’s”.

Golf Links Hotel Nov 2009
Golf Links Hotel and Nightclub, November 2009

The start of the 21st century saw further change to both the hotel complex and the caravan site. Major renovations saw a revamped hotel, initially called Atlantis, but then renamed as the Golflinks Hotel together with major changes in the caravan park including the provision of larger luxury holiday homes with views across to Royal Portrush Golf Club. The nightclub business continues to flourish as “Lush”.

Golflinks Hotel
Golflinks Hotel 2020 – Image courtesy of and © Bell Architects, Ballymoney