If you are someone who thinks about a seaside resort in terms of fish and chip shops, amusement arcades and ice cream parlours then Portpatrick is probably not for you. If however, you think of sleepy pastel coloured cottages, a stunning coastline and all the trappings of a traditional seaside town then at Portpatrick you have struck gold. This pretty coastal town is located on the western side of the Rhinns of Galloway Penninsula. Those pretty pastel coloured houses which look out to sea are all nestled around a small bay, framed by dramatic cliffs. This town was one a departure and arrival point for people travelling from and to Northern Ireland, but not anymore, now it is a peaceful and idyllic place to recharge your batteries by the sea. Portpatrick is the perfect place to just kick back and relax for a while.
Things to Do
There is no real need to do anything energetic here if all you are looking for is relaxation. Sea angling is a popular activity as is walking, either around the bay or along the cliff tops. If you are really into walking Portpatrick marks the start of the Southern Upland Way, which will take you on a walk along the stunning east coast. However, if all that is just a little too much, a cliff top walk will take you to Dunskey Castle. One of the most popular attractions at Dunskey Castle is the incredible walled gardens which have been beautifully restored to their original splendour. Every season offers a different experience in the gardens as the different plants come into bloom. The glasshouses here are the original structures from the nineteenth century and are filled with exotic plant life. You will also find a maze, believed to be the first one ever planted in this part of Scotland.
Places to Visit
Dunskey Castle offers the visitor more than just gardens. These wonderfully atmospheric ruins are perched upon a rocky promontory which juts out over the Irish Sea. This vast towerhouse was constructed during the sixteenth century with later additions being made. However the castle lay derelict and was falling to ruin by 1700. This was also the site of an earlier castle destroyed by battle around 1500. The castle ruins are located along the coastal walkway that runs across the cliff tops.
Walk a little further and you will come to the Agnew monument. This castellated structure was constructed in 1850 in memory of the laird of Lochnaw Castle, Sir Andrew Agnew. Where the monument is located is the site of an ancient Iron Age hill fortification called the Tor of Craigoch. The stones that you see strewn across the ground are all that remains of the walls of the fortification which once encircled the hill.
From the Tor you will experience some incredible views of the surrounding area. You will also notice some bland concrete buildings too which are the remains of a World War II anti aircraft gun battery which was part of a network of installations built to afford the loch some protection.