Rebecca Rice

Miss Rebecca Rice (1791-1875) is remembered for her vision to attract visitors to Portrush and her passion for the local area as well as her generosity to so many charities. On the death of her father, Miss Rice inherited a considerable fortune and immediately set to investing it in various holiday villas and a bathing lodge which she named Rock Ryan. She later built a new, larger villa which she also (confusingly) called Rock Ryan. The house had eight bedrooms and the rent included house staff who would look after the residents. In 1873, the house advertised for a cook for the house who had a good understanding of “the management of milk and butter”.

Strandmore House was another holiday villa built by Miss Rice c. 1860.  Miss Rice financed and oversaw the construction of the first promenade connecting the East Strand with the Salmon Fishery as a relief schem for local fishermen during hard times. She also financed a school for girls, housed in an oval thatched building on her land. On her death, Miss Rice instructed that her funeral was modest and that the entire contents of Rock Ryan be sold by auction and that her inheritance be generous to the local charities and “poor households in Coleraine, Killowen and Portrush”.