Coordinates: 55°10′48″N 6°42′40″W / 55.18°N 6.711°W / 55.18; -6.711
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Portstewart is located in Northern Ireland
Location within Northern Ireland
Population7,854 (2021 Census)[2]
CountryNorthern Ireland
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtBT55
Dialling code028
PoliceNorthern Ireland
FireNorthern Ireland
AmbulanceNorthern Ireland
UK Parliament
NI Assembly
List of places
Northern Ireland
County Londonderry
55°10′48″N 6°42′40″W / 55.18°N 6.711°W / 55.18; -6.711

Portstewart (Irish: Port Stíobhaird) is a small town in County Londonderry, Northern Ireland. It had a population of 7,854 people in the 2021 Census.[2] It is a seaside resort neighbouring Portrush. Its harbour and scenic coastal paths form an Atlantic promenade leading to a two-miles beach (Portstewart Strand), popular with holidaymakers in summer and surfers year-round.


Portstewart was a popular holiday destination for Victorian middle-class families. Its long, crescent-shaped seafront promenade is sheltered by rocky headlands. It is a reasonably prosperous town. Most of the town is contained in the Strand electoral ward and this is one of the most affluent areas in Northern Ireland. In a deprivation index of electoral wards in Northern Ireland the Strand Ward in the town was ranked 570th out of the 582 wards.[3][dead link]

House prices in Portstewart have been amongst the highest in Northern Ireland. According to the University of Ulster Quarterly House Price Index report produced in partnership with Bank of Ireland and the Northern Ireland Housing Executive in Q4 2010, the North Coast region (Coleraine/Limavady area) had higher property prices than those of affluent south Belfast.[4]

Portstewart is one of the most integrated towns in Northern Ireland with the religious demographics similar to the population of Northern Ireland as a whole. Community relations are generally good within the town. Dominican College, a Catholic grammar school, is one of the main schools in the area.[5]


Portstewart seafront.

Portstewart was founded in 1792 by John Cromie, who named it after his maternal ancestors, the Stewarts of Ballylesse.[6] A Lieutenant Stewart is said to have obtained a lease of land from The 5th Earl of Antrim (first creation; 1713-1775) in 1734.[7] Prior to this, the area was formerly known in Irish as Port na Binne Uaine, a name related to the nearby island and townland of Benoney (an anglicisation of Binne Uaine).[1] The name Port na Binne Uaine is still used today alongside the Gaelicised version Port Stíobhaird.[8]

Portstewart developed to a modest size seaside resort in the mid 19th century under the influence of a local landlord, John Cromie. Its development and character was influenced greatly by the Sabbatarian sensitivities of the Cromies and the consequent resistance to a railway connection in the mid 19th century.[9]

Places of interest[edit]

The Strand, looking west to the Barmouth and Mussenden Temple beyond.
Portstewart Town Hall
  • Portstewart has a Dominican convent (an imposing Gothic mansion) with the attached Dominican College sitting on the edge of a cliff which dominates the western end of the Promenade. The site, formally known as "O'Hara's Castle" was built in 1834 and bought by the Dominican order in 1917 to be a centre of education in the north west of Ireland.[10]
  • Just west of the town stretches Portstewart Strand, a clean two-mile long blue flag beach, protected by the National Trust.[11]
  • Beneath the convent is a cliff path which stretches along the coast from the Promenade to Portstewart Strand. From here it is a popular walk to the Barmouth, where the Bann flows out into the Atlantic Ocean. The cliff path has panoramic views across the Strand and Downhill with Donegal in the background.[12]
  • Portstewart Town Hall was completed in 1934.[13]


The nearest stations are Portrush and Coleraine with Northern Ireland Railways providing connections west to Castlerock and Londonderry railway station and east to Belfast Lanyon Place railway station and Belfast Great Victoria Street railway station. Ulsterbus provide connections to the trains at Coleraine railway station.


  • The town is home to three golf courses (under one club – Portstewart Golf Club), made lively by the forceful Atlantic wind. Portstewart has one of the few 54-hole complexes in Europe. The championship links Strand course is set amidst imposing sand dunes with panoramic views across the Atlantic mouth of Lough Foyle to the Inishowen peninsula beyond. The Strand Course hosted the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open in 2017 for the first time in the club's history and was the biggest event staged in the town ever attracting crowds of 92,000+.
  • Portstewart F.C. are an intermediate football club playing in the NIFL Premier Intermediate League.
  • Every May, the North West 200 motorcycle race passes through the town, with the starting grid and pit area on the coastal road between Portrush and Portstewart. The circuit between the towns of Portrush, Portstewart and Coleraine is one of the fastest in the world, with top speeds exceeding 200 mph on public roads. It is one of the last such classic races held in Europe. Drawing crowds of over 150,000, it is the largest outdoor sporting event on the island of Ireland.[14]
  • CLG Eoghan Rua, Coleraine, is the local Gaelic Athletic Association club and the playing grounds are just outside Portstewart.
  • Portstewart also hosts matches in the Super Cup NI.


Henry McCullough


2011 Census[edit]

On Census day (27 March 2011) there were 8,003 people living in Portstewart (3,338 households), accounting for 0.44% of the NI total.[25] The Census 2011 population represented an increase of 2.6% on the Census 2001 figure of 7,803.[26] Of the Census 2011 population:

  • 14.77% were aged under 16 years and 18.94% were aged 65 and over;
  • 52.73% of the usually resident population were female and 47.27% were male;
  • 56.98% belong to or were brought up in a 'Protestant and Other Christian (including Christian related)'faith and 35.54% belong to or were brought up in the Catholic Christian faith;
  • 51.56% indicated that they had a British national identity, 35.17% had a Northern Irish national identity and 22.15% had an Irish national identity (respondents could indicate more than one national identity);
  • 38 years was the average (median) age of the population;
  • 13.36% had some knowledge of Ulster-Scots and 9.90% had some knowledge of Irish (Gaelic).

2021 Census[edit]

On Census day (2021) there were 7,854 people living in Portstewart. Of the Census 2021 population:

  • 51.96% belong to or were brought up in a 'Protestant and Other Christian (including Christian related)'faith and 35.13% belong to or were brought up in the Catholic Christian faith.
  • 46.54% indicated that they had a British national identity,[27] 40.21% had a Northern Irish national identity[28] and 27.03% had an Irish national identity[29] (respondents could indicate more than one national identity).


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Port Stíobhaird/Port Stewart". Logainm.ie. Archived from the original on 23 September 2012.
  2. ^ a b "Settlement 2015". NISRA. Retrieved 18 August 2023.
  3. ^ Agency, Northern Ireland Statistics and Research. "statistics". www.ninis2.nisra.gov.uk.
  4. ^ "Northern Ireland Quarterly House Price Index Q4 2010" (PDF). ulster.ac.uk. 26 September 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 November 2011.
  5. ^ "Dominican College (Portstewart): Aims". Retrieved 26 August 2013.
  6. ^ "Logainm – Portstewart (see scanned images)". Archived from the original on 23 September 2012.
  7. ^ Ltd, Not Panicking. "h2g2 - A2 Northern Ireland's Coast Road - Part 1 Derry". h2g2.com.
  8. ^ "Port na Binne Uaine branch". Conradh na Gaeilge. Retrieved 19 June 2022.
  9. ^ Robertson, C. J. A. (1 October 1978). "Early Scottish Railways and the Observance of the Sabbath". The Scottish Historical Review. Retrieved 19 June 2022.
  10. ^ "Dominican College - Dominican College Portstewart". www.dcpni.net.
  11. ^ "Portstewart Strand Visitor Facility". Northern Ireland Tourist Board. Archived from the original on 14 July 2011. Retrieved 13 July 2009.
  12. ^ "Portstewart Cliff Path". All Trails. Retrieved 19 June 2022.
  13. ^ "Town Hall, The Crescent, Portstewart, Co. Londonderry (HB03/08/007)". Department for Communities. Retrieved 20 June 2022.
  14. ^ "Other motorists have responsibility for bikers too, campaign warns". Northern Ireland Executive. 14 May 2009. Retrieved 26 September 2011.
  15. ^ Durand, Henry Mortimer (1915). The life of Field-Marshal Sir George White, V.C. Edinburgh, London: W. Blackwood. p. 9. ISBN 978-1177733694.
  16. ^ "A Tribute to Jimmy Kennedy". Irish Culture and Customs. Retrieved 19 June 2022.
  17. ^ "Harry Gregg obituary". The Times. Times Newspapers. 17 February 2020. Retrieved 19 June 2022.
  18. ^ "Sean Farren (SDLP)Minister for Higher and Further Education, Training and Employment". The Irish Times. Retrieved 19 June 2022.
  19. ^ "Memoir to Tragic Egan". Northern Ireland World. 14 September 2012. Retrieved 10 October 2022.
  20. ^ Pollock, David (19 June 2016). "Obituary: Henry McCullough, guitarist". The Scotsman. Retrieved 19 June 2022.
  21. ^ "Harry Mullan". The Guardian. 24 May 1999. Retrieved 19 June 2022.
  22. ^ "Ex-RUC man joins Sinn Fein". Belfast Telegraph. 4 July 2008. Retrieved 19 June 2022.
  23. ^ "Sexist songs drove me out of band; ex-Beautiful South Singer Briana breaks her silence after two years". 4 June 1996. Retrieved 19 June 2022.
  24. ^ Tulloch, Sarah (19 October 2018). "'I think we do humour well at home. We just slag ourselves off' - Comedian Jimeoin set for Belfast return". belfasttelegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 15 June 2020.
  25. ^ "Census 2011 Population Statistics for Portstewart Settlement". Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA). Retrieved 6 August 2019.
  26. ^ "Census 2001 Usually Resident Population: KS01 (Settlements) - Table view". Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA). p. 6. Retrieved 6 August 2019.
  27. ^ "National Identity (British)". NISRA. Retrieved 18 August 2023.
  28. ^ "National Identity (Northern Irish)". NISRA. Retrieved 18 August 2023.
  29. ^ "https://build.nisra.gov.uk/en/custom/data?d=PEOPLE&v=SETTLEMENT15&v=NAT_ID_IRISH_AGG3&%7ESETTLEMENT15=N11000184". NISRA. Retrieved 18 August 2023. {{cite web}}: External link in |title= (help)


External links[edit]