The Sanctuary

The Sanctuary

The Sanctuary

A recently revised role in the parish

Book this home

County Down

Plucked from the precipice of almost certain ruin, this idle mid-19th century church, with its classical cake-icing façade, has been meticulously reconstituted into a chic holiday retreat.
Located in the heart of Game of Thrones® territory, adjacent to the narrows of Strangford Lough, this is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, with easy access to Belfast.

 

Contemporary conservation with class

Tripping across the vestibule, where the stone flags have been polished by nearly 200 years of shoe leather, we find a bright and airy contemporary living space.
In fact most of the lofty sanctuary has been retained as an open plan social forum, loosely zoned by function, with kitchen and dining to one side and lounge and television on the other.

AT A GLANCE

  • Sleeps
    Up to 10 guests
    Short stays from €2,100
  • Bedrooms
    Five double bedrooms
    Four are ensuite with shower
    One with family bathroom
  • Other Rooms
    Open plan Sitting room, Kitchen, Dining room
    Laundry room
  • Features
    Traditional Church Organ
    Barbecue area with gas BBQ
  • Contempo
    50” Flat screen TV plus one in every bedroom
    DVD player
    WiFi internet, Bluetooth sound system
    Under-floor heating in two bathrooms
    Good Cell phone reception
  • Availability
    Weekly: Saturday to Saturday
    Weekends: Friday to Monday
    Midweek: Monday to Friday
  • CHECK HERE
  • Restrictions
    Sorry, pets are not permitted

A modern wood-burning stove with exposed chimney flu, forms the focal point for the lounge area, with plenty of comfortable sofas to take the weight off…

Many of the recognisable features of a church have been retained and put to good use, as with the pulpit which has been incorporated into the stairway, and the original American organ, which had to be completely dismantled and rebuilt due to water damage.

Much care was taken to ensure that the correct materials and traditional methods were used throughout this Award winning conversion, where ornate cornices and plasterwork, wooden panelling and full height Georgian windows all required extensive repairs.

The high spec Shaker style kitchen, while bringing a splash of blue to one corner, also encourages inclusive family cooking by being part of the larger space. Expect the odd extra, like a wine cooler…

Facilities & Ameneties

Kitchen Appliances

• Twin Oven Electric cooker with 5 ring hob
• Fridge
• Freezer
• Dishwasher
• Wine cooler
• Toaster
• Microwave
• Nespresso coffee machine

Utility Appliances

• Washing machine
• Tumble dryer
• Iron

Bedrooms

• Sizes – Three King-size and two Super King-size Zip & Link
• 5 Hairdryers

Tech & Entertainment

• Wi-Fi Internet
• 6 Flat-screen smart TVs
• Netflix etc.
• DVD player in living room
• Marshall Bluetooth sound system

Other

• Good selection of books
• Selection of toys in toy cupboard
• Children’s high chair, stairgates, travel cots

Accommodation lies in what was once the alter end, with two double bedrooms, one of which has direct access to the family bathroom with free standing bath, under floor heating, and separate walk in shower.

A few paces beyond, the single story Session House extension at the rear of the church has been transformed into a spacious panelled bedroom. The original solid doors now lead to its ensuite with generous walk in shower.

Floating on its’ own supports, to limit stress on the original structure, the mezzanine level with its glass balustrade gallery overlooks the living area. Behind it, there are a further two double bedrooms, both ensuite.

Where the tall arched windows now span two levels, a glass floor softens the transition.

Outside

The church is elevated above the street level with views across rolling green fields, and to Castleward Bay. A lawn and Barbecue area to the front is sheltered by mature trees which also provide privacy. Unrestricted parking is readily available on the street directly in front of The Sanctuary.

A laundry room, which doubles as a secure lock-up for bicycles, golf clubs etc. lies adjacent to the church side entrance.

Provisional Booking Form

This Home is normally only let by the week, except as follows:
Mid-week bookings run from Monday PM till Friday AM – 4 nights
Weekend breaks run from Friday PM till Monday AM – 3 nights
Important – A Week’s booking runs from Saturday to Saturday

A refundable breakages deposit payable with the rental amount will be refunded within seven days of departure.

All year €3,850 per week Weekend €2,100 Mid-week €2,100

Select your Dates

AVAILABLE BOOKED

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Please select a date first.

We don't take payment until your enquiry is confirmed.

Your travel arrangements are important, so all provisional bookings are double checked with the owners to ensure that your plans do not conflict with theirs, this can take up to 24 hours, but we haven’t forgotten about you.!

Provisional bookings will be followed up by email, at which point we can answer specific queries you may have, verify your booking and request a deposit to confirm.

Please note that all unconfirmed provisional bookings will expire after 3 days.
If your preferred dates are not available, please click here to review all houses that match your dates.

Restrictions

Smoking – No, sorry!
Parties – The owners regret Stag or 21st parties are not admissible.
Pets – No, sorry

Available
Booked
Pending
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Please select a date first.

We don't take payment until your enquiry is confirmed.

 

Reviews

 

Great place for a family gathering…

Cleverly adapted and well equipped building. We had 9 people staying and another 9 or so dropping in for food and fun. Plenty of room for all and a good kitchen area too. And it was pleasantly warm despite the weather.

December 2019

A really comfortable place to spend a very happy family Christmas

We all ( that is four generations ) gathered just before Christmas and spent a lovely few days in the converted church in Strangford. The hosts were so welcoming and had described everything to us to make things really easy for us all. There are lovely walks in the areas, very friendly people in the village, shops, restaurants, and bars, the ferry leaving and returning giving a lovely sense of rhythm so that one hardly needs to get in the car. Although the area is great to explore as well. We would thoroughly recommend this as a really perfect place for a family holiday.

December 2019

We stayed – two families

– for a few days including New Year and could not be happier with this wonderful accommodation. Full of character and attention to detail – this Church restoration is a fabulous space in a charming location. Luxurious, cosy and with welcoming hosts! Fully recommend this opportunity to be part of this building’s history!

January 2020

Spectacular…

Had an amazing stay in this beautiful converted church. Every need had been catered for and nothing was too much trouble for Marty and Melanie. A real touch of luxury. Cant wait to go back.

November 2019

Click here for reviews on using Sanctuary in Search for Posts

 

Out & About

 

An abundance of adventures await you in this stunning part of Ulster.
We just can’t list them all, so here are a few of our favourites…

Here are some of our favourites…

 

The Locality

 

 

Most supplies can be found in the local shops on a short stroll down through Strangford village, where there are also several excellent restaurants and pubs. For larger supermarkets, including some that do deliveries, which can be handy for advanced planning, you will need to travel 15 minutes to Downpatrick.

From the village, there is an entertaining ferry – every 30 minutes – across the narrows to Portaferry on the Ards Peninsula, where there is a small Aquarium (Explorus ) that is popular, and an important lifeboat station.

Strangford Lough is one of the most richly bio-diverse regions in Europe, with over 2,000 marine species spread across 150 km2. It is the largest sea inlet in the British Isles, and boasts at least seventy islands and multiple drumlin islets. The narrows are also subject to a highly energetic tidal race. With water moving backwards and forwards at up to 15kph twice a day the channel has become a test-bed for experimental power generation, most lately by a Swedish company who are currently trialing their fascinating “sea kite” technology.

Shellfish is the name of the game around these parts, with pot fishing, mainly for prawns and crabs and licensed shellfish farming within the Lough, so it’s not surprising that you will come across some of the finest seafood restaurants in Ireland. For divine Fish and Chips, make the short journey to the pier at Ardglass.

Castle Ward is an 820-acre walled demesne owned by the National Trust on the edge of Strangford with terrific sheltered woodlands and trails, great for walking, running, cycling. The historic farmyard was the location of Winterfell where the deadly Game of Thrones® series is set in motion.

photo HBO

If you’re fond of the odd G&T you must be sure to try some of the home grown local varieties that have sprung up in recent years. The Echlinville Estate list Jawbox amongst their brands, and invite you to enjoy a tour of their distillery, or you may prefer to try Shortcross from the 500-acre Rademon estate.

There is a fine beach 10 minutes’ drive south on the secluded Killard Nature Reserve, a former NATO Radar Station. On a fine day you can see the Isle of Man and of course the beautiful Mourne Mountains to the south.

How to get there – Car advised…

By Air: Flights to Dublin or Belfast airports.
Dublin Airport – is about 2 hours from the house
Belfast Airport – just over an hour from the house.

By Sea: Ferry crossings
Ferries from Belfast, about an hour away, run to Liverpool and Scotland
Dublin City Port/Holyhead has a fast crossing and is about two hours from the house
Rosslare Harbour for Ferries to South Wales and is about 4 hours from the house.

Map

 

Station House

Station House

Station House

Take this stop for Lakeland Luxury

Book this home

County Fermanagh

No train has passed this way for nearly sixty years and the tracks are gone, but this redundant small town terminal has been lovingly transformed into a spacious, stylish and luxurious contemporary home.
15 minutes from Enniskillen, Station House is perfectly placed for exploring the wonderful waterways and mythical landscapes of Ireland’s Lakeland County, whether by bike, car or boat.

 

Four unique reception rooms…

The original Victorian stone building follows an East West linear axis, with sliding glazed doors spilling out onto the patio-platform, and a lawned garden stretching off into the distance.

A sweep of mahogany panels line the considerable reception lounge where railway passengers once lingered.

Bright and airy with enough of the original signage and architecture to remind us of its credentials, this is a perfect space to host a family gathering.

Through the original ticket office window, you can glimpse what is now a cosy study, with an open hearth.

 

The commodious drawing room lies through double doors across the ochre tinted hall from the old ticket office.

Wide doorways and sumptuous carpets contribute to the unique character of this home. An imposing log burning stove distributes warmth and contentment.

As befits a home of these proportions, it is endowed with ample sofas and occasional chairs to comfortably seat an extended family.

Stepping through from the drawing room, the mellow dining room can cheerfully entertain twelve. Mottled ceramic floor tiles follow around a dividing wall into the adjacent kitchen.

A complete parade of gleaming appliances await the earnest chef, from Aga and Belfast sink to induction hob, it’s all here.

Wineglasses, tableware, towels and linen, all attest to the emphasis the owners have given to detail. Colours throughout are bold yet passive, and the substantial lighting never intrusive. Architectural features of the railway era have been retained wherever possible.

French doors lead from the kitchen into the brilliant adjoining sunroom, where patio doors to the south facing platform invite al fresco dining.

Facilities & Ameneties

Kitchen Appliances

• Twin Oven AGA range
• plus Electric Oven
• 4 ring electric induction hob
• Two Fridges
• Two Freezers
• Wine Cooler
• Dishwasher
• Microwave
• Coffee machine
• Two Toasters
• Blender

Utility room Appliances

• Washing machine
• Clothes Dryer
• Iron

Bedrooms

• 3 Double beds
• 4 single beds
• 2 childrens bunk beds
• 2 Hair dryers

Tech & Entertainment

• Good Wi-Fi Internet
• Good Mobile phone coverage
• 4 Flat screen TVs
• with Netflix
• DVD player

Other stuff

• Lots of Books
• Some DVD movies
• Children’s high chair

Four of the bedrooms are upstairs, each with its own fully tiled ensuite.

One of the two twin bedrooms actually accommodates four by virtue of a third bunk bed that children will love.

At the far extreme of the main reception, the mahogany theme continues into the Ladies Waiting Room now a self contained ensuite double bedroom with a magnificent carved bed.

Wide doorways and downstairs bedroom, ensure this is a wheelchair enabled dwelling.

Outside

The gap between the up and down platforms has been buried and lawned, but the fine wooden Great Northern Railway waiting room, and the original signal cabin at the east end of the station still remain.
A dining table and abundant chairs prepare this south facing terrace for some memorable meals.

This is a completely private garden which lends itself to croquet and football alike – and is just perfect for children.
There is of course ample parking for cars.

Provisional Booking Form

This Home is normally only let by the week, except as follows:
Mid-week bookings run from Monday PM till Friday AM – 4 nights
Weekend breaks run from Friday PM till Monday AM – 3 nights
Important – A Week’s booking runs from Saturday to Saturday

Public holidays – please apply for rates.

A refundable breakages deposit of €350 payable with the rental amount will be refunded within seven days of departure.

July to August €2,750 per week minimum stay
September to June €2,300 per week Weekend €1,300 Mid-week €1,300

 

Select your Dates

AVAILABLE BOOKED

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Please select a date first.

We don't take payment until your enquiry is confirmed.

Your travel arrangements are important, so all provisional bookings are double checked with the owners to ensure that your plans do not conflict with theirs, this can take up to 24 hours, but we haven’t forgotten about you.!

Provisional bookings will be followed up by email, at which point we can answer specific queries you may have, verify your booking and request a deposit to confirm.

Please note that all unconfirmed provisional bookings will expire after 3 days.
If your preferred dates are not available, please click here to review all houses that match your dates.

Restrictions

Smoking – No, sorry!
Parties – The owners regret Stag, Hen, Wedding or 21st parties are not admissible.

Allergy Warning! Please note that this is a Dog Friendly Home. If you intend bringing a dog, please tell us about him/her when booking.

Available
Booked
Pending
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Please select a date first.

We don't take payment until your enquiry is confirmed.

 

Out & About

 

Here we have a perfect touring base for exploring the Erne waterway and North West Ireland. Ideal for anglers, canoeists and cyclists alike – there is so much to see and do.

Here are some of our favourites…

 

The Locality

 

 
Station House sits on the edge of Irvinestown in the Northern County of Fermanagh. A sizeable town, it has a fine supermarket and a wonderful hotel bar.

photo David Bolton
30% of Fermanagh is covered with lakes and waterways.

The two Loughs of the Erne basin are connected by the River Erne which flows North-Westwards into the Atlantic at Ballyshannon. Lower Lough Erne is further North as it is furthest downstream.

The Counties capital town, Enniskillen, lies on the stretch between the two lakes, and is just 15 minutes drive away.

Both Samuel Beckett and Oscar Wilde attended Portora Royal School in Enniskillen, though not at the same time obviously.

Lower Lough Erne is a huge expanse of water, over five miles wide at its widest point and 18 miles in length. The lough is dotted with numerous islands, rocky outcrops and reaches depths of over 200 feet in places, making it ideal habitat for Brown Trout and large numbers of coarse fish species. Upper Lough Erne, on the other hand is a maze of channels and islands with vast reed beds and ideal habitats for Pike…

A canal, the Shannon-Erne Waterway, runs between the upper end of the River Shannon and the River Erne, and utilises sixteen locks. The lakes are home to a maze of Islands, the largest being Boa which is 8km long and contains notable pagan stone relics.

Belleek 30 minutes away, is the western-most village in the United Kingdom and Sits on the border between the UK and the republic.
The world renowned Belleek Pottery was founded in 1857 by John Caldwell Bloomfield, who declared that any piece with the slightest flaw would be destroyed. The policy still survives today. Pieces are made in Parian porcelain which imitates marble.

During the second world war this area experienced a lot of airborne activity as sanctioned flying boats from Lough Erne in the UK, flew missions out over the short Republican corridor into the Atlantic.
It was a Catalina from Lough Erne that spotted the notorious German battleship Bismarck out in the Atlantic – and this led to her demise by the British Navy who had been in pursuit but had lost contact in heavy fog.

Interestingly, Fermanagh escaped the potato blight during the Great Famine better than any other county, as the county had so many islands. The disease had difficulty traveling over water. Those Erne islands produced surprising amounts of potatoes (the staple diet on the island, from 1845–1849), whilst the mainland was largely starving in comparison.

How to get there – Car advised…


By Air: Flights to Donegal, Belfast, Knock, Dublin or Shannon.
Belfast Airport – under 2 hours from house.
Donegal Airport – approx 2 hours from house.
Knock Airport – approx 2 hours from house.
Shannon Airport – under 4 hours from house.
Dublin Airport – under 3 hours from house.

By Sea:
Ferry crossings from Liverpool to Dublin or
twice a day from Troon in Ayshire to Larne.
Dublin City Port/Holyhead has six sailings a day including a fast crossing, and is approx 3 hours drive from house.

 

Map

Cottage 51

Cottage 51

Cottage 51

Romantic Lakeside Cottage

Upper Lough Erne
Book this home

County Fermanagh

Step inside this magical, wee cottage with a slightly bohemian air; you enter a different world where new surprises lurk around every corner.
A delightful world of natural and recycled materials and honky-tonk pianos, nestled in a rural landscape of lakes, rivers and stone wall bridges.

A magical home that radiates eccentric char, almost from another era…

The small entrance lobby leads through to the airy double storey kitchen, which is the hub of the house. Terracotta floor, Belfast sink, and wood-burning stove make you feel instantly at home.
Put the kettle on..

AT A GLANCE

  • Sleeps
    Up to 7 guests including Annex
    From €1,000 per week
  • Bedrooms
    Two double bedrooms
    Shower room
    Separate Annex
    Double bedroom – ensuite
    & Single bedroom
  • Other Rooms
    Living room, Kitchen, Dining room
    Entrance lobby
    Separate utility room
  • Features
    Central heating, isolation
  • Contempo
    TV, Hi-Fi
    No Wi-Fi in property
  • Availability
  • Availability
    Weekly: Saturday to Saturday
    Weekends: Friday to Monday
    Midweek: Monday to Friday
  • Restrictions
    Sorry, pets are not permitted
  • CHECK HERE

All rooms lead off the kitchen:

We call the sitting room the Piano room, for obvious reasons. A large comfy sofa, armchair and TV if you need it, share this eclectic space with antique wood burning stove in an oak fireplace, books and Victorian memorabilia.
Facilities & Ameneties

Kitchen Appliances

• Electric ceramic hob
• Electric oven
• Fridge-freezer
• Dishwasher
• Toaster
• Microwave

Utility Appliances

• Washing machine-dryer in external utility
• Iron
• Central heating

Bedrooms

• Three double beds and one single

Tech & Entertainment

• Stereo Hi-Fi
• TV
• DVD player in living room
No Wi-Fi in House

Other

• Good selection of books
• Piano
• 2 wood-burning stoves

At the opposite side of the kitchen is the master bedroom – A romantic boudoir in cool cucumber colours with billowing taffeta curtains and a large Louis xvi double bed.

Luxury 200 thread count Egyptian cotton sheets and feather down duvets and pillows, complete the story. French doors open out onto a patio and fabulous views of Lough Scalban.

You can soak away your blues in a classic Victorian free-standing roll-top bath before bed.
The panelled dining room, shrouded in a riot of roses, with hand-painted table, is a very special place to enjoy Chic dinners with panoramic views. Underfoot is an artwork itself, devised from reassembled gym floor boards, and the shelves are stocked with books.
Stairs leading from the kitchen, take you up to the mezzanine bedroom with antique cast iron bed and eiderdown quilt.

There is a charming bathroom with shower, toilet and magazines leading off the entrance lobby.

The Annex

In the self contained annex adjacent to the cottage, there is a single bedroom and a double bedroom with ensuite bathroom.

The style is rustic, vintage and eclectic, with half doors, stone walls, Belfast sink and enclosed double bed.

Provisional Booking Form

 

A refundable breakages deposit payable with the rental amount will be refunded within seven days of departure.

Cottage only €1,000 per week Weekend €495 Mid-week €495
Including Annex €1,150 per week Weekend €565 Mid-week €565

Select your Dates

AVAILABLE BOOKED

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Your travel arrangements are important, so all provisional bookings are double checked with the owners to ensure that your plans do not conflict with theirs, this can take up to 24 hours, but we haven’t forgotten about you.!

Provisional bookings will be followed up by email, at which point we can answer specific queries you may have, verify your booking and request a deposit to confirm.

Please note that all unconfirmed provisional bookings will expire after 3 days.
If your preferred dates are not available, please click here to review all houses that match your dates.

Available
Booked
Pending
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Reviews

Divine atmosphere-so cosy

full of personal touches – interior design is the work of a genius! Love it. Thanks very much.
J.A.Graham, Belfast

Peaceful, charming cottage. Magical views. Magnificent tub!
McAllister Baumann Family, Boston, USA

Nice and cosy cottage, stunning view!
Maecel and Jolanda, Pen Haag, Holland

 ‘We really enjoyed our stay at Cottage 51. ‘ 

Look forward to staying in another of your unique homes in the future 🙂
-Geraldine D, 2021

Click here for reviews on using Cottage 51 in Search for Posts

Out & About

This is an ideal touring base for exploring the Erne waterway, the Pullans, and North West Ireland.

A Mecca for anglers and country walkers alike – there is so much to see and do…

Here are some of our favourites…

The Locality

 

Cottage 51 is located approximately 4 km from the village of Belleek in County Fermanagh, which is one of the six counties in the province of Ulster, with Donegal to the North, and Sligo to the South.

Belleek is the western-most village in the United Kingdom and Sits on the border between the UK and the republic.

The world renowned Belleek Pottery was founded in 1857 by John Caldwell Bloomfield, who declared that any piece with the slightest flaw would be destroyed. The policy still survives today. Pieces are made in Parian porcelain which imitates marble.

The two Loughs of the Erne basin are connected by the River Erne which flows North-Westwards into the Atlantic at Ballyshannon. Lower Lough Erne is further North as it is furthest downstream. The town of Enniskillen lies on the stretch between the two lakes.

A canal, the Shannon-Erne Waterway, runs between the upper end of the River Shannon and the River Erne, and utilises sixteen locks. The lakes are home to a maze of Islands, the largest being Boa which is 8km long and contains notable pagan stone relics.

Lower Lough Erne is a huge expanse of water, over five miles wide at its widest point and 18 miles in length. The lough is dotted with numerous islands, rocky outcrops and reaches depths of over 200 feet in places, making it ideal habitat for Brown Trout and large numbers of coarse fish species.

Upper Lough Erne, on the other hand is a maze of channels and islands with vast reed beds and ideal habitats for Pike.

Lough Erne Yacht Club is based in Gublusk Bay and hosts the Lough Erne Regatta, Ireland’s oldest event for racing under sail, with a lineage beyond 1820.

For walkers, the Creevy Shore Walk is a purpose built coastal footpath 10 miles in length running from Rossnowlagh through Creevy to the mouth of the Erne Estuary in Ballyshannon. It is situated 1km from The Wild Atlantic Way which is a 2,500km route from Malin Head, Co Donegal to Kinsale, Co Cork.

 

​See the natural sea stacks known as the Fairy Bridges complete with their own “wishing chair” in Bundoran, the world renown surfing resort.

In 2011, for the third time in the competition’s history, the European Surfing Championships were held at this seaside town which boasts the natural amenities of world class reef and beach breaks as well as all the ancillary hospitality, catering and entertainment required for an event of this significance on the European calendar.

The guitarist and singer Rory Gallagher was born in Ballyshannon which is said to be the oldest town in Ireland – although there are at least two other claimants.

Enniskillen Castle, originally built in the 15th century by Hugh ‘The Hospitable’ Maguire, was used as a barracks in the 1700s and 1800s. Hugh was the younger brother of the leading chieftain at the time, King Thomas Maguire (Thomas the Great).

Some history/geography

Interestingly, Fermanagh escaped the potato blight during the Great Famine better than any other county, as the county had so many islands – the disease had difficulty travelling over water – whilst the mainland was largely starving in comparison.

During the Second World War this area experienced a lot of airborne activity as sanctioned flying boats from Lough Erne in the UK flew missions out over the short Republican corridor into the Atlantic. It was a Catalina from Lough Erne that spotted the notorious German battleship “Bismarck” out in the Atlantic – and this led to her demise by the British Navy who had been in pursuit but had lost contact in heavy fog.

The highest temperature in Northern Ireland recorded by the Met Office, 30.8°C, occurred at Knockarevan (near Belleek) in County Fermanagh on June 30, 1976.

How to get there – Car essential…

By Air: Flights to Dublin, Belfast, Donegal or Knock airports.
Dublin Airport – approx 3 hours from house.
Belfast Airport – approx 2 hours from house.
Donegal Airport – approx 1 and quarter hours from house.
Knock Airport – approx 1 and half hours from house.

By Sea: Ferry crossings
From Liverpool to Dublin
Or twice a day from Troon in Ayshire to Larne
Dublin City Port/Holyhead has six sailings a day including a fast crossing, and is approx 3 hours drive from house

Map