Belfast Telegraph

Harbouring dreams of island life? Then Rathlin Island has just the job

By Amanda Poole

Do you dream of escaping the stresses and strains of the rat race and moving to a remote corner of the world?

If beautiful scenery in a tranquil setting is your idea of heaven then look no further – the National Trust has an unusual job opportunity for you.

The conservation organisation is looking for an experienced tenant to run the grand Manor House guesthouse on Rathlin Island.

Overlooking the harbour, the 19th century, 12-bedroom property, which includes a restaurant, is located on our only occupied offshore island, just five miles from the Co Antrim coastline.

The wild and unspoilt island – eight miles long and one mile wide – boasts rugged landscape and is home to around just 75 people.

The Manor House guesthouse and restaurant has become increasingly popular with visitors seeking a peaceful getaway or the chance to do some birdwatching, scuba diving, sailing and sea fishing.

Indeed, in 2010 its award-winning restaurant famously turned down a reservation for the Earl and Countess of Wessex.

Northern Ireland Office officials were left red-faced when the then manager wouldn't accept a blind booking for mystery VIPs, leaving Prince Edward and Sophie to dine on sausage rolls at the pub next door in an incident that made national headlines.

Max Bryant, National Trust manager for the North Coast, told the Belfast Telegraph it's hoped the chance to lease the small hotel will attract a broad range of experienced candidates.

"Overlooking the harbour, this Georgian house has a wealth of history dating back to the 1870s," he said. "As well as stunning views and amazing wildlife, there are few places in Northern Ireland with such tranquillity and beauty.

"This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for the right person who wants a piece of this lifestyle, while also taking on the challenge of running a guesthouse and making a successful business."

To find out more call the National Trust on 028 9751 2368 or email philip.mcgirr@national


The Manor House is owned by the National Trust, whose president is Prince Charles. The Georgian house, which dominates Rathlin Island's harbour, was built in the 1870s for the Gage family, who bought the island in 1746 from Lord Antrim for £1,750. The last family member to live at the Manor House was Brigadier Rex Gage, CBE, MC, who died in 1973. It lay derelict for a while before being taken over by the National Trust and then reopened in 1998 as a 12-bedroom hotel.

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