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Coffee shop famed for dog club closes down


The Old Mill coffee shop’s waterwheel

The Old Mill coffee shop’s waterwheel

The Old Mill coffee shop’s waterwheel

A well-known Co Down coffee shop famed for its dog club has ceased trading.

The Dundonald Old Mill and Gift Shop on Belfast Road in Dundonald had been a popular spot for afternoon teas and lunches.

It was also famous for the waterwheel outside its 250-year-old building.

The venue drew dog-lovers, with customers being encouraged to bring their pets to regular meetings of the Mill Doggies' Club.

But now the venue has closed, and the company behind the business has ceased trading.

A meeting of creditors of Dundonald Old Mill Ltd is to be held at the offices of insolvency advisers HNH in Belfast on February 5.

A spokesman for HNH confirmed the business had ceased trading but had no further comment.

The coffee shop was owned by Carolyn Hamill.

Belfast Telegraph restaurant critic Joris Minne said the venue had been "quite a charming place" but had fallen victim to changing fashions.

"We're going through a period of transformation in the restaurant sector and the arrival of the big chains in Belfast has had an impact on the independent sector, which is catering increasingly for older people," he said.

"And I imagine that Dundonald Old Mill - which is spectacularly beautiful - may be suffering from something like that."

And he added that with the surge in delivery services from restaurants like Just Eat and Deliveroo, "we're in danger of losing that personal touch".

Naomi Armstrong-Cutter, a DUP councillor on Ards and North Down Borough Council, said the coffee shop would be missed.

"It is a lovely wee place. You had to go upstairs for coffee and downstairs is the gift shop, selling kitschy aprons and gifts and homemade jams and so on," she said. "I remember going as a child as a treat with my mum and dad. The outside always had the old wheel spinning around."

She added that competition in the area had grown. "There are more cafes around now, though Dundonald Old Mill would have always been a favourite."

According to the website of the business, its waterwheel was one of the largest in Ireland, with a 32-foot diameter.

It dated back to 1850, when the buildings were converted from a linen bleaching mill to a corn mill.

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