Junior Suites & History

We have christened our Junior Suites and named them after historical events and landmarks associated with the village of Portballintrae.


Junior Suite – “Lissanduff”

Lissanduff or the ‘Dark Fort’ as it’s known locally, consists of two sets of concentric circles (raths).  The site dates from the early Bronze Age and is a very important archaeological site in Ireland.  The main rath would have been a large standard enclosure used as a fortified home for people and animals, these were built in defensive locations to offer maximum protection from raiders.  The farthest set of concentric banks are more intriguing, they are oval in shape and have a water spring in the centre.  Archaeologists have discovered that non-porous clay was used to line the banks of the oval in order to create a deep pool of water, which would have been used for water rituals.

To fully understand the significance behind this site we must first understand the environment of the time.  The Bronze Age spread to Ireland around 2000BC when settlers from Europe arrived.  The culture of these people merged with that of the native Neolithic and so began the Irish Bronze Age.  The landscape here would have been very different from today, forests would have covered much of the lowland areas, the dune system and river would have existed as a natural boundary, created by the outflow from a receding ice sheet which covered the area some 10,000 years BC.  The view to the ocean at that time would have been much the same as it is today.

Although stone implements were still used, bronze revolutionised tools and weapons and as the skills developed more and more sophisticated decorative bronze items were produced and the first workings of gold appeared.  Why a water ritual site here? No one can categorically say why, however, we know that similar sites excavated have produced valued items of a similar style and look.

At this time there were three major influences upon life, belief and culture.  These were the sun, fire and water.  Water in particular held a significant mystery and importance, not only was it life sustaining it was the only physical material that could reflect your image.  In a time of no mirrors and when people had very little idea of what they looked like this would have been quite significant in importance.

In traditional early Irish mythology the other world could be reached by water through a pool, a lake or the sea.  This idea of water as a gateway between worlds is linked with boundary-symbolism.  To pass an axe or other valued item through this reflective portal, let it go and then withdraw your hand back to your world would have been a significant and symbolic action.  Water to this day still has a symbolic link through religions, baptism and holy wells.  Another significant factor to consider about Lissanduff is that it is located on the boundary of the western extreme of the ancient kingdom of Dalriada and the end of the Ballaghmore, the great road which ran from Tara to the northern coast of Ireland.


Junior Suite – “Lacada”

The dramatic cliffs of the Antrim coast tower over the site of one of the richest shipwrecks ever discovered in our coastal waters.  It was here at Lacada Point that in June 1967 a diver and treasure hunter, Robert Stenuit, located the traces of what proved to be the wreck of the Spanish Armada galleass, Girona, a craft that had sunk on 28th October 1588.  Many of the artefacts were kept securely in the safe of the Bayview Hotel.

Over the next two years, Stenuit amassed over 12,000 artefacts from the wreck, and in 1972 they were purchased as an entire collection by the Ulster Museum, where they are now displayed.  The bay where the wreck was found is still known locally as 'Port na Spaniagh'.

The Girona was one of 130 ships that set sail from Lisbon in 1588.  After defeat in the English Channel the expedition was aborted, and the fleet attempted to return home via Scotland and Ireland.  However, the scattered ships were battered by storms, and between 15th and 28th September, 28 ships were wrecked on the Irish coast.

The Girona was actually sailing northwards back to Scotland, crammed with 1,300 men on board, when it struck the razor sharp rocks off Lacada Point.  It seems likely that the repaired rudder failed, and the ship was literally cut into two by the rocks. Only nine sailors survived and were able to climb the massive cliffs to safety at nearby Dunluce Castle.

The most spectacular finds from the wreck were the 45 pieces of gold jewellery belonging to the commander and officers.These included six gold chains (one of which was 8 feet long), crosses and military decorations, finger rings and 12 portrait cameos of Byzantine Caesars. One ring has a hand holding a heart, with the Spanish phrase: 'I have nothing more to give you.' The site is the only protected wreck in Northern Ireland waters.


Junior Suite – “The Watch House”

During the 1600s, Portballintrae had its own Customs House which served the village and the town and castle of Dunluce.  The harbour was the nearest safe anchorage and landing place which serviced the growing settlement and its commerce.  Dunluce grew into a thriving location for goods and several Scottish merchants settled here.  The flow of commerce must have been high to justify the building and operation of a Customs facility.  The graveyard at St. Cuthbert’s has several identifiable headstones of merchant families from Scotland including one dating to 1610.

The present Bayview Hotel stands on the site of an older Bayview Hotel which had a small one storey building on the end known as The Watch House.This was the original customs house and coastguard building prior to the new station being built in 1874 which still stands today on Beach Road.  Its prominent location overlooking the bay and harbour meant this was the perfect location for the original customs & coastguard building prior to a larger building being required.  The Watch House was added to the former Bayview Hotel and prior to demolition in 1998 it was used as a restaurant within the hotel.




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TripAdvisor Review

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"Magnificent seafront location with panoramic view of the Atlantic Ocean."

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Happy Customer (TripAdvisor)

"Close to the Giants Causeway this hotel had gorgeous views of the bay and would be a great base for anyone touring the area. Would I recommend it? YES!"

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"The room was clean and fresh and the bed was the most comfortable we have slept in."

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