Categories: accommodation

Northern Ireland is steeped in history. It’s in our landscapes, our buildings and our people. And when you come to stay, you can step into that history like nowhere else in the world. From the outright spectacular to the quaint and unique, we are home to a collection of castles, hotels, inns and cottages that give you a direct window to our past. When you visit, you are not just hundreds of miles from home. In some cases, you’ll be hundreds of years away too.  

So here are just a few of the places that won’t just connect you to our past, but will welcome you into it too.  

Ardtara Country House 

Built as the family home to linen entrepreneur Harry Jackson Clark during the reign of Queen Victoria, Ardtara Country House hotel in County Londonderry can now be a home away from home for your family too. Enjoy the comfort and style of a bygone era, with all the modern conveniences you would expect from a contemporary hotel. It is the perfect retreat for escaping the pressures of modern living. The firm Harry founded still operates nearby as the oldest linen manufacturer in Northern Ireland.  

Beech Hill Country House Hotel 

Beech Hill Country House Hotel has been in the ownership of families that have been instrumental in shaping both the city and county of Derry~Londonderry over the last 400 years. One unique chapter occurred during World War II, when it was transformed into a camp for the United States Navy. Many Marines married local ladies and the US connection remains strong. The Beech Hill-United States Marines Association is still active today. Stay here and you will join a long list of illustrious guests includes US President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton, and actor Will Ferrell. 

Unforgettable Stays in historic locations 

Belle Isle Castle 

Originally called Ballymacmanus, Belle Isle Castle in County Fermanagh was once home to the old MacManus and Maguire families. It has been inhabited since the 12th century. Now, extensively refurbished, you can stay in the castle, coach house and a variety of cottages. Modern amenities are mixed with antique furniture and stunning spaces, making for a truly historic experience. 

Berwick Hall Cottage 

This wonderfully restored eighteenth-century barn is situated adjacent to Berwick Hall. The cottage is a seventeenth-century ‘Planter’ farmhouse in County Armagh and is the oldest building still standing in the village of Moira. The owner provides tours of the two-storey thatched farmhouse, which is a fine example of a yeoman's home. He also provides cycling tours of the village of Moira which has been a settlement for over 1,500 years and the centre of a number of key historical events. 

Dobbins Inn Hotel 

Built in the early 13th Century by the Norman Knight Reginald D'Aubin, Dobbin’s Inn is 

located in the heart of the historic town of Carrickfergus, County Antrim. A listed building with strong links with the town’s Norman Castle, it has been at the centre of the town’s history for over 800 years. During its lifetime it has been a tower house, a gatehouse and a prison before eventually becoming an Inn. Many of the building’s original features still exist including the ‘Priests Hole’ and the grand Elizabethan fireplace at the reception. It is believed that a tunnel stretched from the castle to the inn, and the hotel is also said to be haunted by the ghost of Elizabeth Dobbin 

Step into the history of Northern Ireland 

Fools Haven Thatched Cottage 

Fools Haven Thatched Cottage is situated on the shores of Belfast Lough at the beginning of the world famous Causeway Coastal Route, opposite the homestead of former US President Andrew Jackson. This wonderful County Antrim cottage is over 250 years old. More recently, it was home to two local children, orphaned by the Titanic tragedy. They had been sent to live with their aunt while their father sailed on board the tragic liner as an engineer. One of the children, Ruddick Millar went on to become a renowned journalist, author and playwright. He is now honoured by an historic blue plaque at the cottage. 

The Homecoming Barn 

This traditional barn on a working farm in County Tyrone has stunning views over the historic town of Clogher and Slieve Beagh. It retains much of the original stonework, but has been tastefully furnished and fully equipped to provide comfortable accommodation for 4/5 people. For those interested in tracing their routes, genealogical consultancy and help in tracing ancestry in the Clogher Valley and border counties is available from the owner. They provide full reference materials for visitors include maps, gravestone inscriptions, local directories, estate records and valuation data. 

The Londonderry Arms 

The Londonderry Arms was originally built in 1848 as a coach inn during The Great Famine. It was later owned by Winston Churchill, and during World War II it was commissioned by the army as a facility for the recuperation of wounded soldiers. The hotel still boasts original Georgian architecture, complimented by antique furniture. It has maintained its sense of old world charm with cosy lounges, paintings by local artists, antique furniture and open log fires. 

The Merchant Hotel 

Designed in 1857 to appear “elegant, substantial and prosperous”, the Merchant Hotel was the former headquarters of the Ulster Bank in the heart of Belfast’s mercantile and commercial centre in pre-Titanic boomtown Belfast. The nearby junction of Waring Street, Donegall Street, North Street and Bridge Street is the oldest part of the city; dubbed the Four Corners. It was from here that all milestones from Belfast were measured. 

The Old Inn 

Situated in Saint Patrick’s Heartland of County Down, The Old Inn is a historic hostelry that has been standing in its present form since 1614. It still retains elements of its connection with Ireland’s early Christian heritage as well as a strong seventeenth-century literary and cultural history; which has included being patronised by the likes of Jonathan Swift, Charles Dickens and C. S. Lewis. 

Share our history 

These are just a few of the hotels, inn and cottages that can open the door to Northern Ireland’s long and rich history. And please let us know if we’ve missed your favourite historical stay by sharing your stories at #discoverni.