Second homes and tourism on Northern Ireland’s north coast: social benefit or social cost?

Research output: Other contributionpeer-review


The seminal study on second homes by Coppock (1977) reported the concern of second home development on existing communities and residents, and while the topic has received considerable attention as of late (see Hall and Muller, 2004), there remains a dearth of good in-depth research on resident opinion to second home development. The case study presented is a small step towards engaging in research which shifts the pendulum towards the views of residents over owners and towards social impacts over economic benefits. The communities of Portrush, Portstewart, Castlerock and Portballintrae on Northern Ireland’s North Coast represent the major resort towns of the region where second homes have come to represent between 30 and 57% of all housing stock. A survey of resident views on second homes within these communities was undertaken in the summer of 2005. 2081 questionnaires were delivered to households and 503 responses were received, a response rate of 24 percent. The survey set out to gauge resident opinion on the level of 2nd home development, the extent to which their communities have changed over time as a result of this form of tourist development, and resident views on further 2nd home development. The study found that the majority of residents thought the level of 2nd home development to be bad (66%) for their community; only 16% indicated that it was positive. The level of negative feeling about 2nd home development was found to be strongly tied to the length of residency. Many residents (42%) stated that their communities had changed in the last 6 - 10 years, with a significant proportion of responses (38%) saying they had noticed changes more recent than that, describing their community with negative phrases like ‘loss of identity’ (36%), ‘too many outsiders’ (10%), but with some positive response like ‘small and quiet’ (27%). There exists across these communities strong opinion against further 2nd home development taking place (19% actively against, 32% silently against). The viewpoints of residents within tourism communities are important, and what this study reveals is that if good relations are to be retained, the voices of the long-term residents need to be heard.
Original languageEnglish
TypePaper given at the International Geographical Union Regional Conference
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 5 Jul 2006


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