The Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor Paul Michael, has officially opened the Coastguard Boat House on Belfast Lough, Whiteabbey.
The Coastguard Boat House is the only original boat house anywhere in Belfast Lough that can be rented as a holiday let.
Dating back to the 1850s, the Coastguard Boat House, has retained many of its heritage features including a barred window, original boat rigging, beamed ceilings and has its own slipway.
With a location just a few metres from the sea, it is already creating waves of interest with local and international visitors.
Speaking during a visit to the Boat House the Mayor said: “I’m delighted to officially open this fantastic new accommodation facility in our Borough.
“The Coastguard Boat House is a beautiful addition to our rich tourism offering and I wish Carol and Colin all the best in their new venture.”
The Boat House is jointly owned by husband and wife team, Carol Magill and Colin Simms who purchased the property last year, secured planning and renovating the building and gained Tourism Northern Ireland accreditation.
Speaking about their new property venture, Colin said: “The Boat House is one of a kind, a special place complete with tide clock, to support guests as they explore the shipwrecks on the Boat House’s door step as the tide goes right out past the old coal pier leaving a sandy beach behind or just spend their day taking in the view and salty air in a location, which is literally on the Lough.
“The Boat House has a fascinating history, and our vision was to immerse visitors in that story, a tale which is 200 years old, a time of smugglers and gun runners, political revolution and political change.
“The view of the sea is amazing but so is the combination of greenery and the cranes, the sunrises, and the cruise ships who sail past the window, following in Titanic’s journey across the Lough.
“Our focus is also on customer service, helping people relax and enjoy precious time out with a fully fitted kitchen, and clever use of space which means that we can sleep up to five in the Boat House, although it is also a perfect couple retreat.
“Since our soft opening in December, we have welcomed guests from Scarborough, Ballymena, Wyoming USA, Dublin and Fermanagh, with the Boat House already near 70% capacity in January.
“In the coming months the Boat House will welcome Australians, Canadians, and many more Americans. As a new business, we are grateful to the Council for their support with mentoring to help us get insight into the hospitality industry.
“We were delighted to welcome the Mayor to the Boat House and hear first-hand of our plans, and the Council’s support in bringing the international tourism spend to our shores.”