Turtle Cottage

The Way We Were…

Book This Home

County Down

AS SEEN ON BBC 1 television Counytryfile 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.

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Heritage with a good dollop of fun

The eponymous Turtle 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.

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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.

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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.

AT A GLANCE

  • Sleeps
    6 to 8 guests
    From €2,250 per week
  • Bedrooms
    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
  • CHECK HERE

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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.

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

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

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

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Facilities & Ameneties

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

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Bedrooms

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.

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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”.

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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.

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Outside

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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!

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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.

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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

Christmas and New Year are high season as above, for other Public holidays – please apply for rates.

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

Christmas 2022 – 23rd to the 27th December – €2,800
New Years’ 2022 – 
29th to the 2nd January – €2,6800

  Per week Weekend Mid-week
October to April €2,250 €1,300 €1,300
May to September €2,800 Not Available Not Available

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.

Restrictions

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

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Out & 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…

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There’s so much to see and do, we just can’t list them all, so here are some of our favourites…

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 eponymous 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Map

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