Introduction to Built Heritage

Portrush has been a place of residence for mankind from earliest times. Evidence of Neolithic settlement has been found within the town and at the White Rocks.

Corrstown Bronze Age Village c1500BC
Corrstown Bronze Age Village c1500BC

However, perhaps the most exciting discovery was made in 2002 when archaeologists excavated a site beside Hopefield Road on the Southern edge of Portrush and found evidence of a Bronze Age village which would change our understanding of life in the Bronze Age on the island of Ireland forever.

Over seventy four houses which ranged from circular to oval in plan were excavated. Subsequent radiocarbon dating placed the settlement in the Middle Bronze Age (c.1700-1200 BC). This provided extensive evidence for a settled and organised Middle Bronze Age village that thrived at Corrstown for over 200 years. The importance of Corrstown in terms of adding to the story of our past cannot be underestimated.

In the 13th and 14th centuries there was a substantial settlement on the Portrush promontory and  an archaeological excavation in Antrim Gardens in 2005 produced evidence of a thriving Medieval settlement however the occupation on this site did not  appear to continue into the 15th century.

Portrush Harbour c1822
Portrush Harbour c1822

In the early 19th century there were only a few houses here, most of them at the harbour end of the town, above the port. The inhabitants were chiefly fishermen and pilots. Historical maps show a natural harbour that was located where we see the Old Dock today.

Earl of Antrim's Isometric Drawing c1857 of Old Dock
Earl of Antrim’s Isometric Drawing c1857 of Old Dock

This 19th Century drawing of Portrush shows the dock at the heart of the fishing village; today the Old Dock is a fine surviving element of the earlier harbour and is protected as a scheduled area.

The Portrush we see around us today is largely the product of the Georgian, Victorian, Edwardian and modern eras. and we invite you to journey with us through this golden era of Portrush.