Recreational Grounds

Fireworks Displays

The “Castle of Fire” may have long since disappeared but during the early years of the 20th Century Ramore Head once again became a place associated with fire of a different kind – fireworks! Fireworks displays were probably first held during the late 1920’s or early 1930’s on the Recreation Grounds at Ramore Head. These provided a large arena for the fireworks and associated entertainment, together with a natural grandstand on the sloping grass surface of the headland. An added advantage was that it could be closed to public access relatively easily so that an admission charge could be made.

In later years high canvas screens were provided to block the view from Ramore Avenue. The ‘Portrush Tattoo’ became so popular that in the period immediately after the Second World War, around 14,500 people crowded into Portrush to watch the Fireworks from the Recreation Grounds on and around Ramore during the summer season. There were so many people that the organisers feared that the grounds wouldn’t be able to cope and that some would be forced off the cliffs at the back of the hill and into the sea! Special Excursion trains brought excited crowds from towns as far away as Londonderry, Ballymena and Cookstown. Entertainment included Marching Bands, gymnastics, drill demonstrations by local military units and comedy performances.

Fireworks displays and associated entertainments continued to be held periodically at Ramore Head, in the Recreation Grounds, up to the 1990s. Until the mid-60’s the organiser and Master of Ceremonies for these events was Captain Shutt M.C. and they were run to a very tight, almost military, timetable with his announcements and the entertainers entrances and exits timed to the minute. When Captain Shutt M.C, retired his successor, Harold Alexander, kept these traditions.