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How to get around Northern Ireland during The Portrush Open 2019

Northern Ireland is about the same size as the Metropolis of New York. Two hours by car in any direction and you’ll hit the sides! So it’s easy and quick to get to Portrush, whether you come in by air or sea. And once you’re here, everything you’ll want to see outside of the golf before you go home – Giants Causeway, Game of Thrones sets, Titanic Exhibition, Bushmills Whiskey tour – they’re all dead close and accessible … all could be done in a day if you get up early enough! This guide gives you a few local tips on the best ways to get around and links you, hopefully, to everything you need to know.

TRAINS IN NORTHERN IRELAND

The Belfast to Portrush and Derry-Londonderry line to Portrush is a really good line with trains running every hour. Belfast – Portrush – Londonderry is one line. Portrush is one of the stops on the line between Belfast and Londonderry. Belfast to Portrush by train takes just under 2 hours. Portrush to Londonderry under 30 minutes. However, if you’re from a city or a country with good infrastructure, you’re going to find our trains pretty small and quaint…

And this is an important point:
We’re a small place. Most of our trains have less than 5 carriages. 100,000 people are expected at The Open and because our trains are extremely reliable, usually running on time, they might be a popular choice for local people wanting to travel to The Open to avoid traffic and parking issues. Whilst extra trains are being put on for The Open, because they are small trains seats still might not be available. As you can’t book seats on our trains think about the possibility of standing the whole way. Also bear in mind that everyone is likely to leave at roughly the same time. So tens of thousands of people, relatively few trains with only 5 carriages. It’s a math equation! This is why we’d recommend hiring a car. Not only easier and safer, but you can also get to see more of NI, making more of your trip.

Trains around Northern Ireland
Trains to the Mournes, Strangford Lough area, Tyrone and Fermanagh don’t exist. Sadly one of our smart ancestors in the 1950’s decided it was a good idea to remove the lines in these regions, and so you’ll need to take the bus. So trains from Belfast to the North Coast, Larne (East coast) and straight down to Portadown and then to Dublin are great. The rest of NI – none. It’s such a shame.

Trains from the Airports

Belfast City – there is a train into Belfast Central from Sydenham, the station for the airport. 3 stops into Belfast Central/Lanyon. Cross the platform for trains to Portrush

Belfast International – there is no trainline to the airport. A great bus service or taxis. It’s about 20 minutes to Belfast. If you’re going to Portrush from there, you’re a third of the way. It’s 5 miles by taxi/bus to Antrim from where you can catch the train to Portrush. Or share a taxi with others from the airport likely to be heading up there for a quicker journey.

Trains to Dublin
These are excellent from Belfast Central, currently being renamed as Belfast Lanyon Place. They are every hour and a half and it takes about 2 hours. Good trains, modern, comfortable and long – so can fit lots of people unlike our rural ones. Timetable and booking links below.

LINKS
Northern Ireland railway timetables
Translink – to book train/bus tickets
Belfast to Dublin train timetable
‘Get about’ section of this site for loads more advice, guides and links

BUSES & COACHES IN NORTHERN IRELAND

We have a great bus system all over NI. It’s a small place, not much traffic and so the coaches can travel the longer distances not much slower than you would by car. Same rules on the large visitor numbers to The Open and a limited number of buses and coaches. We’d recommend you hire a car, however, we have an excellent bus and coach system if that works for you. There is no direct bus to Portrush from Belfast or from the airports, so you’ll have to use the timetables to sort your route out. Timetables and booking links below.

LINKS
Northern Ireland bus timetables
‘Get about’ section of this site for loads more advice, guides and links

HIRING A CAR IN NORTHERN IRELAND

This is probably your best option for getting around our wee place. We’ve dedicated an entire section to this with maps, guides, access to car hire and tours/chauffeurs etc – CLICK HERE to go there.

A few notes about cars at The Open. Portrush is a small seaside town, based around a harbour with small roads and country roads. You can walk from the far side of Portrush to the other side where the Royal Portrush Golf Club is, in about 20 minutes. That small. Parking will be a nightmare! Info on parking, park & ride, minibus parking etc can all be found on the official Open website here. So check out the parking arrangements at your accommodation. If you’re in a B&B just out of town they might run a service to drop you in and pick you up. If you’re fit enough, plan to walk everywhere. It’s not far. Whilst it will get rammed, you will be able to find parking and then walk. But give yourself extra time for that.

LINKS
Car hire in Northern Ireland
Chauffeur hire
Local taxis
‘Get about’ section of this site for loads more advice, guides and links

CAR FERRY TO IRELAND

There are two. They both go from a place called Greencastle to the Republic of Ireland, which may confuse you. One is 30 mins to the West of Portrush and takes you into Donegal. The other is from Greencastle near Kilkeel down in the beautiful Mourne Mountains (near Newry) and takes you into Carlingford. You can drive into Donegal and into Ireland, but they save you time if you want to go into the top of Donegal or into Carlingford which is gorgeous and highly recomemnded and they are definitely the scenic route. Which is why they are called the scenic ferries.

Taking the scenic ferry route down to Dublin
If you’re going to drive down to Dublin we’d seriously encourage setting the sat nav for Newcastle (County Down, not Newcastle-upon-tyne in England which it will try and take you!), stop off at Daft Eddies for a snack on the shores of Strangford Lough on the way past. Then from Newcastle drive along the coast to Kilkeel, the Seafood Capital of Northern Ireland for some fresh seafood and a look at the town that Harry and Meghan and now Baron and Baroness of – and then take the ferry over the Carlingford. A fantastic way to enter the Republic of Ireland.

LINKS
Lough Foyle ferry (to Donegal) – 30 mins form Portrush
Carlingford ferry
‘Get about’ section of this site for loads more advice, guides and links

We hope you find this guide useful. We’re here to help, so if you need something that we haven’t covered yet, let us know and we’ll add it in. CONTACT US through the page here.

Benjamin & dad

FULL LINKS FOR THIS SECTION
Northern Ireland railway timetables
Translink – to book train/bus tickets
Belfast to Dublin train timetable
Northern Ireland bus timetables
Car hire in Northern Ireland
Chauffeur hire
Local taxis
Lough Foyle ferry (to Donegal) – 30 mins form Portrush
Carlingford ferry
‘Get about’ section of this site for loads more advice, guides and links

 


Other useful portushopen2019.com / Causeway Coast Guides

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