Strange Phenomenon on Portrush Point, County Antrim

A writer in one of the numbers of the Christian Examiner gives an account of a curious phenomenon observed while rowing in a boat along the Causeway.

"We had now," he says, "got into the centre of the bay, and could observe the whole bending of the shore from Bangore Promontory to Portrush Point; and while, as was natural, our eyes were principally directed towards the CAUSEWAY, to which we were approaching, and asking concerning this place and that, one of the men said, 'Look, gentlemen, there are the merry dancers on Portrush Point!' and on looking in that direction we all observed this most extraordinary phenomenon. Portrush Point, which a few moments before presented a very unmeaning appearance, and was certainly the least interesting object on the coast, now assumed a most commanding aspect. A lofty mountain arose instead of a long flat—a conical peak like Croagh Patrick—rugged rocks with their serrated points pierced the clouds; and instantly all this vanished, and a beautiful softly-swelling wooded hill presented itself, a lofty embattled castle, a broad belt of full-grown wood, green lawns, and all the decorations of a nobleman's domain. You might conceive yourself at once transported to Plymouth Harbour, and that you saw Mount Edgecombe before you. And, again, as by talismanic touch, all this disappeared, and on a plain two embattled armies seemed to oppose one another, and dense masses of troops, horse and foot, stood motionless as if in suspense for the battle signal, and now they rushed together, and the opposing batallions closed on each other, and a loose shapeless cloud rose up, as if it were the mingled dust and smoke ascending from the conflict; and all at once the whole vision dissolved away, and nothing was seen but the low, uninteresting peninsula of Portrush.

I had never before heard of this phenomenon appearing on the coast of Ireland. I had read something like it as occurring in the Straits of Messina, and, on the present occasion, particularly as taken by surprise, my astonishment and delight cannot be expressed. So vivid was the delusion—so strange, so beautiful, so magnificent was the optical representation, that were I in the remotest part of Ireland, and assured that I would see it again, I should, without hesitation, put my foot in the coach, and, at almost any sacrifice of time or trouble, attend to witness it again. The boatmen assured me it was by no means of frequent occurrence. Some of them declared they never saw it before; and he who was best acquainted with its appearance said that it required a concurrence of wind, tide, and weather that did not often coincide to produce it."