Tuesday, 27 January 2009

The last resort

With the economic squeeze, extravagant holidays are on the wane and people are taking time-off in their own countries again.

The seaside town of Portrush near the Giant's Causeway is enjoying a bit of a boom, with hotel bookings well up and shops doing increased business.

Quite a turn-up for the books when Britons have been shunning chilly, down-at-heel local resorts for decades in favour of sunnier and more sophisticated climes.

How my own tastes have changed over the years. As a child, I was blissfully happy visiting my relatives at Southend (Essex) and Perranporth (Cornwall), spending all day on the beach where my sister and I would climb the rocks, build sandcastles, collect shells and look for crabs.

Gradually over the years as people got more prosperous, it became fashionable to holiday in Europe, and then farther-flung spots like America, India and Australia.

Now I've been hopelessly corrupted (or enlightened) and my idea of a holiday is watching the New Year's Eve fireworks on Sydney Harbour Bridge, taking a train through the Rockies or visiting art galleries in Manhattan.

We took a two-week break in Connemara a couple of years ago but I came back disappointed. Yes, the scenery was spectacular but it was all a bit dull and predictable after what we had seen and done in other parts of the world.

I've been so spoilt that even if I were stony broke, a fortnight in Portrush would be hard to adjust to. I think I'd just max out my credit card, take off for Sydney and never be seen again. I'm sure Jenny could be easily persuaded to come with me. After all, Portrush or Port Arthur?* It's a no-brainer.

* a historic old settlement on the Tasman Peninsula in Tasmania.

PS: Jenny points out that I'm rather contradicting what I said about greed. So - I claim the right to be inconsistent....

Photo: Portrush on Northern Ireland's north coast.


  1. I dunno Nick, one of my favourite holiday spots is just 2 hours along the north coast, it's quiet, solitary, beautiful . . .jet setting's appealing but sometimes its nice just to chill on home shores. And trust me, you don't want to be in Sydney this week without air con!

  2. I like the North coast of Ireland, and have brought many visitors to these shores, on an outing to enjoy the many treasures it has to offer. I always manage to by-pass the town of Portrush with them as I see it to be a bad advert. Any time I was in the town it had a depressed air about it and had so many fast food joints with their offensive smells assaulting the populace I would never to return. Maybe it has changed now.

    Give me the west coast of Ireland or west Cork any day!

  3. Baino - Oh well, you live in Oz, for Pete's sake, who would want to go anywhere else in a hurry?

    Grannymar - Not my favourite place, for sure. There are better beaches on the Ards Peninsula, and they're often deserted.

  4. hehe well I've never been to either place so I'd be happy with both :-)

  5. There is beauty everywhere, Nick, I don't compare sights and scenes as they are all unique and satisfying to the eye and the ear. I, like you, had a list of places I wanted to see and I remarked to friends the other day that living in Newfoundland has kicked it all out of me. Being surrounded by such beauty every day reduces the curiousity to see/sample foreign sights perhaps. I don't know. I used to have such a travel itch.
    PS Did you get to hiking the Aran islands? I recommend. Also as GM says get yourselves to West Cork.

  6. Conor - I think you'd be happier in Port Arthur, take my word for it!

    www - You certainly make Newfoundland sound like a very beautiful place you have to tear yourself away from. No, I haven't made it to the Aran Islands yet. I've been to West Cork though - wonderful scenery.

  7. come back soon!

  8. GayƩ - I'm sure I will. Just as soon as we can gather some more cash and I'm ready to face the horrors of long haul yet again....

  9. Nick, I recommend the unspoilt Northumbrian coast. It is breathtakingly beautiful, with soulful beaches stretching for miles. Best pack your vest though, as the stiff breeze isn't for big girl's blouses.

  10. Hulla - Funnily enough, I've never stayed in Northumbria though I've travelled through it on the train. Hopefully I'll manage a proper visit one day.

  11. I like Portrush out of season. not so good for sunbathing though.

    No foreign holidays for us this year. We saw the nightmare coming and had a great holiday last autumn. I will be buying a tent this year and we'll maybe go camping a few weekends. Portrush in holiday season is awful and waay overcrowded. As for beaches, check out the blue flag scheme, it'll tell you what beaches haven't been polluted by sewage and which weren't covered in litter the previous year. A good indicator, especially if you look at the past few years of data.
    today's security word was pubpot. Nice.

  12. Muddy - I'd forgotten about the blue flag scheme, must check out the best beaches. After December's trip to Oz, we'll be economising a bit this year too. We're planning a little foray to Scotland.

  13. Well, as you know, "a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds."

    I love to travel but I also live in a place which is a world-class vacation destination so it's a bit easier than it might be otherwise to make do with what is within reach at this moment in time.

  14. Heart - Agreed, if I lived in San Fran I think I'd also be less inclined to zoom off elsewhere. Especially since most of your destinations would be long haul!