Whether you are in Belfast for business or pleasure, Newforge House is an ideal location with that home-away-from-home feel. The Georgian Country House was built in 1785 and has been lovingly handed down through six generations. Newforge House, is owned and operated by John and Louise Mathers, and is situated in the small village of Magheralin in Northern Ireland, a perfect location for exploring Belfast and the scenic north coast.
This was our first time visiting Northern Ireland and we loved every minute of our Irish holiday. We felt very fortunate to have learned about this property thanks to their affiliation with Ireland’s Blue Book; membership in this exclusive organization is like the Good Housekeeping Seal of approval, only it’s all about Irish country houses, luxury boutique & castle hotels and restaurants in Ireland.
With 6 double ensuite bedrooms, this family-owned Georgian country house feels more like a stay at a good friend’s house, rather than a hotel. The six rooms all feature elegant furniture, some with ornate fireplaces and 4-poster beds. Yet, even though it’s a historic home, all of the bathrooms are modern and elegant. I loved the heated towel rack!
All rooms include flat screen tv’s, complimentary wifi and coffee and tea service. The five star experience includes a pillow menu, fresh-baked cookies in your room and upscale Noble Isle bath amenities. Rooms offer views of the gardens and surrounding countryside.
We stayed in Hanna Room, named after the matriarch in the family. After a day of exploring Belfast and the north coast we circled back to Newforge House where fresh baked scones and afternoon tea were waiting for us in the drawing room. I should mention that owner John Mathers is a trained chef and his wife, Lou makes all the desserts, jams and pastries. Newforge House is also where I was introduced to Suki Tea. The artisan leaf tea, packaged in Belfast, is very popular in Northern Ireland. My favorite flavor was the Red Berry. I was thrilled when I spotted Suki Tea during my travels in Ireland and brought home a couple of packages in my luggage. Too bad I couldn’t bring the hand-churned butter with me back to San Francisco!
Newforge House dining
I love the idea of relaxing in the drawing room with a glass of wine or cocktail before dinner. As I mentioned, John is a professionally trained chef. You’d be missing out on a gourmet experience if you didn’t make a dinner reservation during your Northern Ireland holiday. Dinner is served at 8:00 p.m. for an additional charge of 45 euro per person and advanced reservation only (always check the website for current pricing.)
On our visit we enjoyed butternut squash risotto and cream of Jerusalem artichoke soup with a choice of dry-aged beef ribeye with garlic & herb butter or roast loin of cod with mustard, caper and parsley cream. Dessert was a choice of Lou’s sticky toffee apple pudding with homemade buttermilk ice cream or a selection of Irish artisan cheeses. As much as I love Irish cheese, I couldn’t pass up the toffee apple pudding made with Bramley apples from the Mathers’ family orchard. These heirloom apples are truly a special regional treat that should not be missed when you visit Northern Ireland.
“I know Newforge House as a place where John, and his crew, take care of basically everything. The rooms and the location are superb, but more importantly, this place breaths a good atmosphere in every possible way. It’s cozy, friendly, open and sincere. This location will undoubtedly surprise you. It deserves a sixth star if it would be possible. If you are around, try Newforge House. If there’s no room available, plan your stay around availability. In no way will you regret it.” Eric Kejzer, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
This place breaths a good atmosphere in every possible way. It’s cozy, friendly, open and sincere. This location will undoubtedly surprise you. It deserves a sixth star if it would be possible.
Need to know:
Rates range from $199 – $275 per room for two sharing, inclusive of breakfast.
Complimentary bicycles and car cycle racks are available. Complimentary freshly brewed artisan leaf tea and ground coffee with homemade biscuits served in the Drawing Room on arrival and throughout the duration of your stay. Parking is freely available directly to the front of Newforge House. Complimentary wifi throughout the house. No pets allowed.
The property is a member of Ireland’s Blue Book, Georgina Campbell Guides, Alistair Sawday, The Good Hotel Guide, The Bridgestone Guide & Good Food Ireland.
Awarded Best Breakfast in Northern Ireland with cooked-to-order breakfast included. The guest house has a small orchard which provides fruits for breakfast preserves, and is home to their friendly chickens that lay wonderful eggs for breakfast. Their “Ulster Fry” is legendary and they have won the “Best Breakfast in Ireland” at the Irish Breakfast awards.
Check in: 2:00 p.m.
Check out: 11:00 a.m.
Early check in and late check out may be arranged, where possible, with advanced notice.
Insider Tip: Eat as many meals as possible at Newforge House. For an additional fee John might even pack you a picnic lunch for a day of exploring in Belfast. For additional insider tips follow luxury travel writer @Nancydbrown on Twitter or Instagram @Nancydbrown and @NewforgeHouse on Twitter and @newforge on Instagram.
If You Go:
58 New Forge Road
Craigavon, Northern Ireland
Newforge House review, video and all photography by travel writer Nancy D. Brown. As is typical in the industry, I received a complimentary media stay, however, all opinions are my own.