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After a somewhat busy day we couldn't wait to find out where we'd lay our heads that night. We weren't really sure what was in store when we were told that beds awaited us in a lightkeeper's house in Whitehead. Under the beam of the Blackhead lighthouse we would spend our first night in Northern Ireland.
It was hard to believe there was light at the end of the tunnel as we made our way down some winding lanes before finally reaching the cottage. It was nearly midnight when we arrived, but a warm welcome awaited us, and after a brief tour we were delighted to make ourselves at home and recover from the events of the day.
Waking up the next morning we were unprepared for the beauty of our location. From our bedroom window we had views of the spectacular Antrim coast. After a quick breakfast we headed outside to breathe in the sea air and spend some time soaking in the vista before us - a perfect way to begin any day.
The lighthouse keeper's house is attached to the lighthouse by a short walkway. Built in the mid 19th Century the lighthouse would have guided all of the ships in and out of Belfast Lough - including the Titanic. The house itself was bought by the Irish Landmark Trust which invests in properties of national interest which are at risk of becoming derelict. It has been sensitively restored to look as it would have when first built. There is a sense of atmosphere as soon as you walk into the house and flicking through the guest book previous visitors have described their stay as 'phenomenal' and 'unforgettable'.
WHAT TO SEE AND DO
Coastal walks are available from the front door of the lighthouse - these were originally built in the 1850s by the railway company who recognised Whitehead as an important tourist destination. If you've any artistic leanings then this is the ideal location for anyone seeking inspiration - so make sure you bring your paintbrushes or notebook with you. Whitehead is an ideal place from where to start a trip along the Antrim Coast, however for those in search of other activities it's also within easy access of Carrickfergus and Belfast.
The cost for the lightkeepers' houses varies according to season, how long you want to stay, and which house you want to book. House 1 sleeps five, while House 2 can accommodate up to seven people. Prices range from £312 for a mid-week stay during the low season to £973 for a week in high season. For more detailed information contact the Irish Landmark Trust (see below for details).
BOOKING Log on to: www.irishlandmark.com
Or telephone: 00353 1 6704733
Find alternative places to stay at:
Watch Laurence & Jackie's video on Blackhead Lighthouse
Watch Laurence & Jackie's video on World of Owls
Watch Laurence & Jackie's video on the Hilden Brewery
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