The village of Porthgain has a wealth of historical relics from its time as a prosperous industrial harbour in the early 1900s.
At one time, the harbour exported slate from quarries a few miles south at Abereiddy, Trwynllwyd and Porthgain itself. Abereiddy and the quarries to the South were linked by a tramway. Water-powered mills at Porthgain sawed the quarried slate slabs before shipment.
In later years the slate trade was abandoned, although Porthgain survived by turning to brick-making, and later to crushed roadstone. Large brick hoppers dominate the harbour. These hoppers were used to store crushed dolerite before shipment and are now a Scheduled Ancient Monument. In 1987 Porthgain was designated as a conservation area. Slate, from a local quarry, was handled through the harbour from 1850 to 1910. Bricks were made in the harbour area from 1889 to 1912 using waste from the slate operation. The crushed dolerite (1889 – 1931) was used as a road stone. It is said that the stone used to build O’Connell Street in Dublin was shipped out of here.
The harbour, still home to local fishermen, can get very busy in the summer with recreational boaters. Other attractions and conveniences include the Pembrokeshire Coast Path rambling up both sides of the harbour, the ‘Strumble Shuttle’ bus, 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 a small bistro situated by the quay and two art galleries, which is located in the manager’s office of the old works.