Lagan Valley MLA Edwin Poots, who once served as the Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure, and later as Environment Minister, lives on his family farm in the heart of his constituency.
Edwin still lives with his family in the 19th century farmhouse he grew up in, treasuring every day the views of the rolling Co Down countryside he loved as a child.
Based just outside Hillsborough Edwin’s father Charlie, who was also a politician in Lisburn, bought the farm back in 1967 when Edwin was just 22 months old.
“The house is from the turn of the 19th century and we moved here 50 years ago,” explained Edwin.
“We have tried to keep as many of the original features as possible, including the staircase, the architraves and mouldings on the ceilings, and the fireplaces.
“I have always loved the house. There are lots of memories of my childhood here and I brought all my own children up in the same house.
“When I got married my mum decided she wanted a bungalow so they were able to build a bungalow on the land that was fit for their purpose and we moved into the farmhouse.”
Being such an old house, Edwin has obviously had to spend time on its upkeep, having replaced windows and making sure it was damp proofed. However, the four bedroom house still retains its historic charm.
“There are Bangor Blue slates on the roof and the timbers are original,” revealed Edwin,
In a house filled with good memories, for Edwin the heart of the home is the living room, where he can not only relax but also spend time with his family. “The house has good big rooms but I like the sitting room the best,” he continued. “I like the living room because I like lounging around. It is where I go to unwind. I love to get the fire lit and get stretched out on the settee to watch a bit of telly or do a bit of reading. We have a big seven seater sofa and it is really nice for relaxing.”
The living room holds many memories for Edwin, both from his childhood but also of his own family, with photographs of his children as they grew up, in the room.
One of his favourite features in the room is, without a doubt, the open fireplace. “I love the old fireplace,” he explained. “We got it done up and put a cast iron insert into it. I love getting the open fire going. It’s my favourite aspect of the room. I love having the dogs in the room as well for company,”
As you would expect, the bookcase in the room reflects much of Edwin’s personal and professional life. “On the bookcase there are a few political books, a few religious books and some novels as well,” he revealed.
The views from the living room are breathtaking, looking out over the Co Down countryside.
“I always maintain its the nicest county to live in. We have views for 15 miles. We can see Slieve Croob over the Co Down countryside and Hillsborough Forest to the other side. I love the view, even though I’ve looked at it for 50 years.”
The importance of family in Edwin’s life is apparent from the choice of his favourite room, being where the family congregate for special occasions like Christmas. “It is very much a family home,” he added. “For me, family is of incredible importance.”