The village of Porthgain is almost a living museum of it’s time as a prosperous industrial harbour in the early 1900s. Large brick hoppers dominate the harbour. These hoppers were used to store crushed granite before shipment and are now a scheduled ancient monument. In 1987 Porthgain was designated as a conservation area.
The harbour, still home to local fishermen, can get very busy in the summer with recreational boaters. Attractions include the Pembrokeshire Coast Path up both sides of the harbour and The Sloop, a pub which used to be called the “Step In” when boats were able to dock beside the pub and the crews could step in. Porthgain also has the Shed, a small bistro situated by the Quay and the Harbour Lights Gallery, which is located in the manager’s office of the old works.
Porthgain lies on the North Pembrokeshire coast between St. Davids and Fishguard, just north of the village of Llanrhian, and its sheltered harbour is tucked into a small cove, which faces north into Cardigan Bay. Porthgain has a fascinating industrial history because of the exploitation and extraction of the local slate.
The name “Porthgain” may mean “chisel port” in Welsh – porth is port, harbour, landing place or cove, and gain – a chisel. The inlet looks as though a chisel has taken a notch out of the cliffs here – and the name aptly foretold Porthgain’s busy industrial heyday. However, until the nineteenth century Porthgain was a quiet fishing village, its only industry was the ‘burning’ of limestone, used as fertiliser to sweeten the fields or to make mortar.