Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Great Northern Hotel, Rostrevor

Carlingford Lough lies between the Mourne Mountains in County Down, Northern Ireland, and the Cooley Peninsula in County Louth, Republic of Ireland.

The famed Victorian novelist William Makepeace Thackeray wrote that
"were such a bay lying upon English shores, it would be a world's wonder; or if on either the Mediterranean or the Baltic, English travellers would flock to it."
Rostrevor, County Down, a small sea-port, and a most beautiful seaside resort, stands at the south base of the Mourne Mountains, on the north shore of the upper part of Carlingford Lough, and on the road from Newry to Kilkeel.

The village is delightfully situated on a gentle acclivity, which rises from a little cove of Carlingford Lough, and commands thrilling views of the woods, mountains and waters of the Lough's basin.

Rostrevor is doubtless one of the most beautiful and picturesque places in Northern Ireland.

The village - or rather in the first instance, the castle - is said to have acquired its name in honour of the marriage of the heiress of Sir Marmaduke Whitechurch to Marcus, 1st Viscount Dungannon, the lady's own name being Rose, and her husband's family name being Trevor; and the castle was, at one time, the seat of the Viscounts Dungannon.

The land was acquired from the Magenises of Iveagh by the Trevors in the early 17th century and was sold to the Rosses ca 1690.

In the 19th century, Rostrevor became a popular seaside resort.

Messrs Norton & Shaw, who operated a horse-and-carriage transport business from the nearby rail-head at Warrenpoint, commissioned a Newry architect, William James Watson, to design a new hotel on the site formerly occupied by the Old Quay Hotel.

The style was to be 'Domestic Gothic', with a 150 foot frontage to Carlingford Lough.

The centre block was to be one storey higher than the wings.

The foundation stone of the new hotel was laid on the 3rd April, 1875, and the building was completed by Alexander Wheelan of Newry almost exactly one year later, in April, 1876 .

Skating Rink Entrance

It opened to the public three months later.

Originally named The Mourne Hotel, it was acquired and re-named by the Great Northern Railway Company.

The Warrenpoint & Rostrevor Tramway company operated a three-foot gauge horsedrawn tramway service between Warrenpoint and Rostrevor from 1877-1915.

There was also a skating-rink attached to the hotel which had been built by the 3rd Earl of Kilmorey.

The rink had a capacity of 2,000.

Skating Rink

During Christmas, 1903, a catastrophic fire broke out at the rink and the adjoining public bar, causing both buildings to be burned down.

The hotel was firebombed and destroyed during the Northern Ireland troubles in 1978.

First published in July, 2016.


Anonymous said...

Excellent blog very interesting, Bryan

Nigelim said...

Ditto. Very informative and extremely readable.