Popular Co Antrim tourist attraction The Andrew Jackson Centre will be closed to the public for the next 10 months while the historic building undergoes a programme of conservation works.
The centre, also known as the Andrew Jackson Cottage, is the ancestral home of Andrew Jackson, the seventh President of the United States.
The refurbished traditional thatched Ulster–Scots farmhouse, which was built in the 1750s and was home to Andrew Jackson’s parents shortly before they emigrated to South Carolina, is located at Boneybefore on the outskirts of Carrickfergus, just off the main A2 Larne Road.
Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, which owns and runs the centre, said it couldn’t give details of the cost of the project, but revealed that works will include “rethatching the roof, safeguarding against damp and upgrading some of the cottage’s interior and exterior features.”
Welcoming the local authority’s decision to invest in “one of the borough’s top tourist attractions”, the Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Cllr Lindsay Millar, said: “The Andrew Jackson Cottage is one of our must-see destinations.
“We are hugely proud of our links to Andrew Jackson, the seventh President of the United States, and when making a visit to the cottage you really are stepping back in time to the 1750s.
“Our tourism and hospitality industry continues to be a real success story, with visitors flocking from around the world to take in our renowned attractions.”
The works at The Andrew Jackson Centre are due to continue until next May, when it is planned to reopen the cottage to visitors.
Last year, the adjacent US Rangers Museum received a substantial award from the US Embassy’s small grants programme which supported the refurbishment of the museum.
Operated by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, the museum opened in 1994 following a 50th anniversary reunion which saw more than a dozen veterans from the 1st Battalion of the US Rangers revisit the place of their unit’s birth.
They generously gave their memorabilia and shared their memories to create a permanent exhibition centre which explores the unit’s history.