A £250k renovation project to safeguard one of Northern Ireland’s most cherished tourism attractions, The Andrew Jackson Cottage in Mid and East Antrim, is almost complete.
The cottage is named after the 7th President of the United States. The Ulster-Scots farmhouse was built in the 1750s in Boneybefore near Carrickfergus, where Andrew Jackson’s parents lived before they left for a new life in South Carolina.
The renovation works have included replacing and repairing the traditional wooden beams, restoring the façade, new paving along the outside, damp repairs including installation of new heated flooring restoration of the traditional thatched roof.
The art of thatching is so specific that a specialist tradesman was sourced to complete the works ahead of the reopening next year.
Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor Lindsay Millar, said: “The Andrew Jackson Cottage is one of our must-see destinations for visitors to Mid and East Antrim. We are hugely proud of our links to the seventh President of the United States, and when making a visit to the cottage you really are stepping back in time to the 1750s.
“These extensive works and investment from Council shows how committed we are to continually developing our tourism and hospitality industry.
“This sector continues to be a real success story with visitors flocking from around the world to take in our renowned attractions including the magnificent Carrickfergus Castle, the stunning Gobbins cliff path, key sites from the iconic Game of Thrones and of course our world class spa resort in Galgorm.
“This work will protect this invaluable attraction for generations to come and enjoy a real and authentic experience here in Mid and East Antrim.
“Regenerating Carrickfergus is one of our recently announced City Deal projects which could see £80m invested in the area.
“Tourism has a huge part to play in these plans and projects like this bolster Council’s dedication to boost this sector and the local economy.”
Last year, the adjacent US Rangers Museum was the recipient of a substantial award from the US Embassy’s small grants programme for their innovative programme which supported the refurbishment of the museum on the 75th anniversary of the establishment of the elite American commando unit formed in the town in June 1942.
The Museum, operated by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, opened in 1994, following a 50th anniversary reunion, which saw more than a dozen veterans from the 1st Battalion, US Rangers revisit the place of their unit’s birth. They generously gave their memorabilia and shared their memories to create a permanent exhibition centre which explores the unit’s history.