The economy, community and tourist trade are all set to benefit from a £1million major refurbishment of the Manor House on Rathlin Island, according to Rural Development Minister Michelle McIlveen.
The Rural Development Minister was speaking as she officially opened the listed building.
The Rathlin Development and Community Association (RDCA) was awarded £734,000 from the Coastal Communities Fund, in addition to £250,000 from DAERA’s Tackling Rural Poverty and Social Isolation (TRPSI) Programme to complete the refurbishment project.
The minister visited the island today to officially open the Manor House alongside islanders and newly-appointed operators Genevieve and Brian McLarnon, from Ballycastle.
Officially opening the Manor House, she said: “I had the opportunity of visiting Rathlin in August to see the progress being made on projects that are being delivered by the Executive, in partnership with the RDCA, which will improve the lives of islanders and deliver social and economic benefits.
“One such project was the refurbishment of this magnificent 18th century Manor House, a focal point that can be seen from shore and one that is instantly recognised by the many visitors to the island. I am delighted to return today to officially open the Manor House for business as a fully functioning three star Guest Inn.
“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 and I’m confident that Brian and Genevieve will make it a success.”
Michael Cecil, Chairperson of Rathlin Development and Community Association (RDCA) said: “We are delighted that the minister has agreed to officially open the refurbished Manor House. 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.”