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County Down

Island Retreat

Price starts from €1,900 per week. Also available for short stays.

The Way We Were…

AS SEEN ON BBC 1 television Countryfile on Sunday 24th April 2022. On a private island off the western shore of the singular Strangford Lough, is an enchanting 250-year-old cottage. A historical home of unique character where generations of families have escaped.
Secluded, and with stunning views and bird-life; direct access to the lough and a tennis court, it’s hard to believe you’re just 45 minutes from Belfast.

Book This Home

At a Glance

Bedrooms

Up to 6-8 guests
Two double bedrooms – 1 ensuite
Two triple bedrooms
Two Bathrooms

Other Rooms

Sitting room and Living room
Family Kitchen
Entrance Porch/Conservatory

Features

Wood-burning stoves
Oil fired central heating + electric heaters
All-weather Tennis Court
Loughside Jetty & Slip

Contempo

2 Flat screen TV, WiFi internet, DVD players
strong 4G Cell phone reception

Availability

High season Weekly only: Saturday to Saturday
Weekends: Friday to Monday
Midweek: Monday to Friday

Restrictions

Children are welcome
Pets by arrangement

Property Features

Heritage with a good dollop of fun

The owners family lovingly restored this cottage in 1935 as a summer retreat, and sensitive extensions over the years have retained many original features, including deep-set window sills, quarry-tiled floors and Belfast sinks – quirks and curiosities have been deliberately left unchanged.

The rambling layout of interconnecting rooms divides naturally into two wings, and is ideally suited to a couple of families holidaying together or multi-generational (3G) families.

The principal entrance is through the original kitchen. Idiosyncratic lemon panelling and hand-built furniture are typical to the cottage, as is the sizable Victorian hand pump, once the water supply.

The main living room has an eclectic collection of sofas with a wood burning stove as the focus.There is also a vintage piano for sing-songs, and a gramophone with a selection of old 78 rpm records to explore.

Here a wonderful bay-window dining area with a panoramic view of the lough extends southwards.

A short hallway connects to the second sitting room, carpeted, with an enameled stove, and its own cushioned bay window.

Between the two, is a family bathroom, and opposite, a sunny porch-conservatory opening onto the South-facing lawn.

Bedrooms

Sleeps 6-8 guests.

There is a double bedroom and a triple in both wings, with some reached through the adjoining bedroom, and two having  direct access to the garden.

Again, with a nod to the past, the conspicuous flower pattern on the curtains in one room, is an exact copy of one used to decorate some of the first-class cabins on Titanic.

The black cooking range used by a series of evacuee families during the second World War, is still to be found in “The Kitchen Bedroom”.

Beyond the last bedroom in the West wing, is a large, rustic, pine-paneled bathroom that also serves as a laundry room. It can also be reached directly from the garden.Its vintage, cast-iron shower/bath has been adapted for modern use with an electric shower.

Outside

The lawn gently slopes to a rocky shore where there is access to a slip and a concrete jetty for launching. In addition, you may utilize a second slip for trailer launching via the lane that runs down the side of the house  – so if it floats, bring it!

In addition to the shoreline, there are amazing walks through woods (award-winning arboretum) and some breathtaking birdlife.
There is also an all-weather tennis court on the property.

Facilities

Main Kitchen Appliances

Electric Rangemaster twin oven
With 5 ring gas hob
Fridge-freezer
Dishwasher
Toaster
Microwave

Utility Appliances

Washing machine and dryer in Bathroom
Iron

Bedrooms

Sizes – Two double beds, six single beds
Travel cot
2 Hairdryers

Tech & Entertainment

Wi-Fi Internet
2 Flat-screen TVs
2 DVD players

Other

Large selection of books
Large selection of DVDs
Children’s high chair
Children’s books
2 woodburning stoves
All weather Tennis Court, racquets and balls
Charcoal Barbecue

Out and About

The lough is home to a multitude of yacht clubs – the local one around the corner caters for water sports – canoes, paddle boards, etc, – better still, bring your own water toys.

Things to do

The Locality

Mahee is a small privately owned island on Strangford Lough, the last in a chain linked by road causeways to the mainland. The nearest neighbours are a couple of fields away – mostly with woods between properties – but the nearest sizeable town is Comber, on the mainland 25 minutes away.

This is an island steeped in history, starting with the ruins of Mahee Castle (1570) and Nendrum, a 5th century monastery at one end of the island with its own small museum, and Europe’s oldest known tidal-mill site from the 7th century.

More recently the island became home in the 17th century to the industrious immigrant Andrews family from Scotland, who subsequently achieved diverse acclaim, including the design of the Titanic.

You may be interested in a recently published book curated by the daughter of the Helen Turtle – Midnight Again – a collection of poignant letters written to her mother and sister in America before and during the war when she lived here with her young children.

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.

For a bird’s eye view over the lough, the tower at the top of Scrabo Hill, 20 minutes north, is one of Northern Ireland’s best-known landmarks and the views from the platform at the top of the 122 steps are spectacular.

Migrating Brent Geese in their thousands arrive from Arctic Canada to Strangford Lough from October through the winter months to eat the lough’s eelgrass before the long journey back to Arctic Canada to breed. It is a spectacular sight and a great venue to see this is WWT Castle Espie Wetland Centre, 5 miles from the Cottage and one of the venues for BBC Springwatch, Autumnwatch and Winterwatch 2021/2022.From the Strangford village at the bottom of the lough, there is an entertaining ferry – every 30 minutes – across the narrows to Portaferry on the Ards Peninsula, where there is a small Aquarium (Exploris ) that is popular, and an important lifeboat station.

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 a wee journey to the pier at Ardglass farther down the coast…

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.

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 lists 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.

The Titanic, which has strong links to the nearby town of Comber, has its own “Comber Titanic Audio Trail” which guides you to special places of interest throughout Comber that relate to the Titanic story. If you are going to Belfast – don’t miss a visit to the renowned Titanic Belfast Experience.

How to get there (Car advised)

By Air: Flights to Dublin, Belfast or Shannon airports.
Dublin Airport – is about 2 hours from the cottage.
Belfast Airports – Belfast International is just over an hour from the cottage & George Best’s City Airport, Belfast, is 35 minutes away.

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 cottage
Rosslare Harbour for Ferries to South Wales is about 4 hours from the cottage.

Pricing Options

This home is available for short and long term stays, please enquire for further rates.

Week bookings run from Saturday to Saturday – 7 nights
Mid-week bookings run from Monday PM till Friday AM – 4 nights
Weekend bookings run from Friday PM till Monday AM – 3 nights

Christmas, New Year and Public Holidays are at the high season rate.

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

Duration of Stay Per Week Weekend Midweek
October to April €1,900 €1,300 €1,300
April to September €2,800 €1,300 €1,300
Easter Weekend Thurs. 28th March – Tues. 2nd April 2024 €2,800
Christmas Break Sat. 21st December – Fri. 27th December 2024 €2,800
New Year Break Sat. 28th December to Fri. 3rd January 2025 €2,800

Price starts from
€1,900 per week. Also available for short stays.

Book This Home

Book This Home

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Please note all booking requests are subject to 24 hour approval.
  • Once your provisional booking has been placed, the UIH team will verify it, answer any specific queries you may have, and request a deposit to lock in your dates.
  • Please note if your provisional booking is not confirmed and the deposit paid within 3 days it will expire.
  • If your preferred dates are not available, click here to review alternate options.
  • For additional information please contact us on +353 85 860 0027