Manor House on Rathlin Island is back in business

Rural Development Minister Michelle McIlveen (centre) helps officially open the Rathlin Manor Guest Inn following a �1million refurbishment programme, funded through DAERA's TRPSI Programme and the Coastal Communities Fund, with newly appointed operators Brian and Genevieve McLernon from Ballycastle. Photo by Diarmuid McLaughlin/PA Wire
Rural Development Minister Michelle McIlveen (centre) helps officially open the Rathlin Manor Guest Inn following a �1million refurbishment programme, funded through DAERA's TRPSI Programme and the Coastal Communities Fund, with newly appointed operators Brian and Genevieve McLernon from Ballycastle. Photo by Diarmuid McLaughlin/PA Wire

A £1 million refurbishment of Rathlin Island’s 18th century Manor House has been completed.

The three star inn and listed building near the harbour is a focal point for visitors.

Rural Development Minister Michelle McIlveen said the economy, community and tourist trade would benefit.

“I have taken a quick tour and was impressed with the spacious rooms and homely feel, which I have no doubt will greatly enhance the visitor experience when the main tourist season begins around March 2017.

“It will also ensure a welcome boost for the island community and their economy.”

The Manor House is a National Trust property which previously operated on a limited bed and breakfast basis but had been closed for some time and had fallen into disrepair.

The Rathlin Development and Community Association (RDCA) was awarded £734,000 from the Coastal Communities Fund, in addition to £250,000 from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs to complete the refurbishment project.

Ms McIlveen visited the island on Wednesday to officially open the Manor House alongside islanders and newly-appointed operators Genevieve and Brian McLarnon, from Ballycastle.

Michael Cecil, chairperson of Rathlin Development and Community Association (RDCA), said: “We have been working on the project from 2015 and it is great to see the hard work come to fruition.

“The community here on Rathlin are grateful for the support of the minister’s department, without which this project would not have been possible.”