Memories Of Portrush

Northern Ireland has gone golf crazy as the Royal Portrush course is currently hosting the 148th British Open. The world’s top golfers have descended upon the seaside resort to do battle for the famous Claret Jug. Tiger Woods, Phil Michelson and our very own Rory McIlroy are vying for sporting glory and the opportunity to stroll down the final fairway on Sunday evening, to be crowned champion.

Portrush has also been inundated with celebrities. George Clooney is reportedly in town, David Beckham has been spotted and our very own Jimmy Nesbitt is everywhere you look. For those that don’t know, he’s one of our leading actors and played Bofur the Dwarf in ‘The Hobbit’ movies. He’s also the star of the hit TV series, ‘Cold Feet.’ Fionnuala and I sat beside him in a pub once, but were too starstuck to talk to him.

Tickets to the event were sold out months ago and are now changing hands at extortionate rates. Every hotel, bed & breakfast and hole in the hedge is booked up. There are rumours circulating that wealthy Americans are paying the outstanding mortgages of local homeowners in order to rent their properties for the week. The local airport has seen the number of private jets landing, rise by 1000%.

Hundreds of thousands are expected to visit Portrush this weekend. Local retailers are rubbing their hands in glee at the welcome windfall. Portrush is at the centre of a global media circus and deservedly basking in its 15 minutes of fame. But that’s not the Portrush I know and, besides, I’ve never swung a golf club in anger in my life. I’m a sports obsessive, but I never quite worked out the allure of golf.

This is all the more peculiar as I was raised beside a golf course in my home town of Omagh. I remember hunting for lost balls in the rough as a young boy and then selling them to passing golfers for 10p apiece. A small fortune back in the day. But that’s as far as my relationship with the game went. I’ll keep half an eye on who wins, but I’ll not be glued to my television screen to watch gaudily attired men hitting a little white ball into a little white hole.

As a young boy, a week in Portrush was the highlight of my summer, if not year. Although less than a two hour drive from home it seemed light years away from the mundanity of life. I may as well have been in Vegas, such was the excitement of visiting Barry’s, the town’s famous amusement park. I can still conjure up the smell of smoking rubber from the dodgem cars. Portrush was heaven on earth.

Ice cream cones with a chocolate flake in the top, sickly sweet candy floss and fish & chips every night for tea. It simply couldn’t get much better. My sister and I gorged ourselves on everything edible in sight, between bickering over whose turn it was to sit at the front of the ghost train or any other number of sibling squabbles. The return journey to Omagh was always akin to a funeral cortège, as a depressive pall settled over the back seat of our car.

So, good luck Portrush. I’m sure once the dust settles and life returns to normal next Monday, many golfing freaks will share the same melancholic comedown that my sister and I experienced. Hopefully, however, they will also have fantastic memories which will stay with them for the rest of their lives; just like a shy, tubby, country boy when he visited the resort over 30 years ago. Viva Portrush, the Vegas of Northern Ireland.

Are a golf nut or do you despise the sort?

What’s your favourite childhood holiday memory?

Published by Fractured Faith Blog

We are Stephen and Fionnuala and this is our story. We live in Northern Ireland, have been married for 15 years and have three kids - Adam, Hannah and Rebecca. We hope that our story will inspire and encourage others. We have walked a rocky road yet here we are today, together and stronger than ever. We are far from perfect and our faith has been battered and bruised. But an untested faith is a pointless faith. Just as a fractured faith is better than none at all. We hope you enjoy the blog.

15 thoughts on “Memories Of Portrush

  1. For me golf is like watching paint dry…

    Favorite childhood holiday memory. That would be spending summers in Cape Cod. Spending all day on the beach: making sandcastles with my sister who was one year older than I, collecting sea shells, swimming in the ocean, riding on boogie boards in the water, walking out on the jetty. Going out to eat, visiting yummy ice cream stands and candy shops, playing in the arcades. Basically just all things fun related to staying in a town by the sea.

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  2. Golf seems pointless and the courses waste valuable water. If a person needs to hit a ball to walk miles, they could just as easily take a walk with club in hand and roll the ball along, no? Ha ha ha

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  3. Golf is …. no, I don’t even have words for it. I understand there are mad physics and training that goes into it, geometry, etc – and therefore it is MATH. Nope….

    Favorite childhood holiday moment was sitting, chilled, even with my hoodie on, next to my Grandfather on the lifeguard tower at dusk, and watching a pod of dolphins play out in the Atlantic. It was magic.

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  4. Golf isn’t my sport, but I admire the history and beauty of the sport. Hundreds watch and remain silent as they can be, until a shot is made. That is pretty beautiful when you think about it.

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  5. It looks like your Rory might be on his way home, also sulking in the back of a car (or should that be limo?) Golf is a good game, a little elitist I grant you, but a good game and very hard to master (just ask Rory!) If nothing else it keeps a lot of retired people off the streets as they play their regular mid-week rounds. 🙂

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  6. Golf is not my cup of tea, too much faffing around wearing silly trousers and not enough action. I need a sport that not only requires skill but also sweat. Lots of sweat. Sweat implies physical effort. I feel the same about darts. But I do love Cold Feet! Fab post my friend.

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  7. I enjoy golf, but am not a “nut.”

    My favorite childhood memory will always be Christmas time. We had one of those artificial trees that was all silver metallic leaves. But it was beautiful to me, all decorated with lights and ornaments. Christmas eve and Christmas morning were pure magic to me, as a child.

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