Rathlin Island set to get £735,000 hotel upgrade

Rathlin Island is to be one of the beneficiaries of a series of cash grants announced on Wednesday.
A 10-bedroom hotel could be open on Rathlin Island by 2016A 10-bedroom hotel could be open on Rathlin Island by 2016
A 10-bedroom hotel could be open on Rathlin Island by 2016

The island’s Manor House guesthouse is to be turned into a 365-day-per-year hotel under proposals by the Rathlin Island Development and Community Association.

The body was given £734,642 from the Department of the Environment (DoE) to make this transformation happen, and association chairman Michael Cecil said that it could be open by 2016.

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It had opened to guests in the early 1990s, and is owned by the National Trust.

Since it is a listed building the front will look exactly the same said Mr Cecil, but instead of roughly half-a-dozen rooms now on offer for a limited period during the year, it will boast 10 or more all year round – mostly en suite.

He said: “It’s a major boost to Rathlin. It’s the first facility you see when you step off the ferry.

“It helps all the little ancillary businesses as well as [providing] eight jobs ...

“It’ll raise the profile and reputation of the island.”

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In addition, the DoE has given £71,844 to the Rathlin firm Ocean Veg, to establish a kelp nursery laboratory which would provide young kelp plants for growing out at sea.

Other grants include:

• £280,000 to improve harbour storage and engineering facilities at Coleraine Harbour, with four businesses to operate from the refurbished facilities.

• Ballycastle Town Market has been awarded a grant of £96,901 to provide “sustainable business facilities, support, marketing and training to local craftspeople and food producers”.

For an online statement with a full list of grants, see here.