Monday, 5 July 2010

The Olde Priory Inn

The Olde Priory Inn at Holywood, County Down, was probably my favourite bar in the town during the 1980s. It had thick carpeting, wood and brass features, and was altogether a cosy little bar. I disliked the refurbishment which took place in the 1990s and, like many, ceased to visit it.

As young Timothy William, Viscount Sydenham, I spent my first two years of life at Holywood.

The Olde Priory Inn was reputedly Holywood's oldest established public house, having first opened its doors as the Belfast Bar during the 1840s. the name did not change to the Olde Priory until the 1920s, taking its name from the old Priory Church nearby.

The building was built on the site of a row of 18th century cottages and the first publican was John Killips; then his widow; before the Rogers family acquired it in the 1880s.

In the 19th century the Olde Priory Inn provided accommodation on the first floor and was popular with business men travelling between Belfast and Bangor.

In 1940 the building was destroyed by fire, thereafter being refurbished the in the Mock-Tudor style. Major renovations were undertaken in 1982, when the Inn was sold by the Brady family. The River Twisel runs directly underneath the premises. During the 1980s the Inn boasted the Twisel Grill Bar for evening meals, while the Priory Bistro was more casual. The so-called Strathearn Room was a function room on the first floor capable of holding up to seventy people.


Anonymous said...

Are the fair people of Holywood celebrating the 800th anniversary of King John's visit to the town this month?
He stayed there for one night on 29th July 1210 (he didn't eat in The Olde Priory either).
A good excuse for you to take a walk up King John's Road above the town and then have a drink in a local tavern.

Rossetti's Wombat

Timothy Belmont said...

Fair question. I haven't a clue, though I wasn't aware of King John's Road!

Which tavern do you recommend?

Anonymous said...

Download the link below and see number (4)...

King John's Road continues to a twisting lane, high above the town, with good views. Try the library for more info. Any pub would do to mark the occassion but don't follow the King's bad example by playing cards with any of the locals!
Rossetti's Wombat