We rented three cottages for two weeks for a family reunion/wedding. We came from Canada, Scotland and New Zealand and we all loved staying at Rosevale Cottages. It was our first time in Northern Ireland and we greatly appreciated all the kindness we received from Anne and David. We were sad to leave! The cottages are charming on the outside, but with all the modern conveniences inside. The only things that were missing were safety bars in the shower that the 3 octogenarians in our group could have used.
It is a short drive into Bangor for shopping. There is free parking at the waterfront near the Eisenhower pier which has beautiful mosaics. We had lunch at the Heatherlea Bakery (near the post office) and it was excellent. If they ask if you want "champ", you should know that it is mashed potatoes with spring onions. We also ate at the Doorstop (or Doorstopper?) cafe which is on the south edge of town. Their sandwiches are amazing. (I think it's a chain, as there is one in Belfast too.) On the west side of Bangor, there is a huge Tesco which is very convenient to Rosevale Cottages. The Marks and Spencer at the Bloomfield Shopping Centre also has a great food selection and a nice cafe. There is another Tesco in that mall, too. There's no lack of food.
For dining out, the nearby garden centre is good for Sunday lunch and The Old Inn at Crawfordsburn had a 10 pound dinner special (main course, dessert and a glass of wine) called the Summer Sizzler. It wasn't very exciting, but the price was right and the inn is supposed to be the oldest in Ireland. You can get a room for 120 pounds.
We took the train into Belfast from Helen's Bay Station. The 4 pound return ticket available afte 9:30 am was a bargain. We took an open air tourbus to see the city and it was excellent. The restaurant at the Merchant hotel on Warren St is beautiful. We didn't eat there, but the place is well worth a look.
The Ulster Folk and Transport Musuem is a must for history enthusiasts and is less than half an hour's drive from the cottages. A bit further away, north of Omagh, is the Ulster American Folk Park which focuses on Ulster emigration to the USA. It is excellent. We left Rosevale Farm at 10 am and were there in time for lunch.
Our favourite meal was at Mattie's Meeting House, 120 Brustin Brae Rd, Cairncastle (4 miles from Larne and 22 from Belfast). It looks like an ordinary pub from the outside, but we were taken to a lovely room upstairs with linen tablecloths and we had an excellent meal with excellent service and a reasonable price.
We also visited Mount Stewart house and gardens, a National Trust property south of Newtownards. The gardens are amazing and we had good food at the cafe.
A FINAL TIP: If you are flying into Dublin (There are no direct flights from Toronto to Belfast this year.) you should be aware that the motorway north to Ulster is a toll road and you will need 1.90 euros and the same again when you return south. British pounds are the currency in Ulster.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Home comforts in traditional Irish cottages. Rosevale Farm Cottages provide ideal self-catering accommodation in a country setting close to the coast of North Down. Annie’s and Davy’s, now fully refurbished, have their origins in the eighteenth century when Rosevale Farm was the home of workers from the Sharman Crawford Estate of which it was then a part. Primrose and Hugh’s cottages are newly-built but in the vernacular style and are set apart from the other cottages. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Rosevale Farm Cottages Crawfordsburn, Northern Ireland