“About as sophisticated as a guesthouse gets. Instead of sharing the owners' home, you have the run of it: young John and Louise Mathers live in one outbuilding, John's parents in another. Six generations of Mathers (a linen family) have lived here, the latest restoring and converting it. The Georgian interior has been respected, but the walls have that clean, smooth, modern finish and there’s an optimistic, airy atmosphere – windows are tall. The six charming guest rooms are decorated in the best of taste and John is a professional chef. Terrific.”
Written by Fiona Duncan
“Why do people love staying in your hotel?
“Passionate owners who've turned John's family home into a gem of a country house hotel. Warm atmosphere, great staff, food which is like top notch French provincial cooking, that is the best of local ingredients prepared simply but perfectly, empathetic restoration of a fine Georgian house, incredible gin and excellent wine list, inspired cheese board and superb breakfasts.” Geoff Hill, Tripadvisor review, May 2015
What is there to do in the area?
• Lurgan Park is the second largest public park in Ireland, the biggest being Phoenix Park in Dublin, and is 5 minutes drive away. The beautifully landscaped parkland contains a number of well maintained paths which provide excellent walking and running ground. The Elizabethan style Brownlow House, built in 1836, sits on the edge of the park and has a tea room with lovely views over the park’s 59-acre lake.
• Oxford Island is 10 minutes drive and offers idyllic walks and bird watching along the shore of Lough Neagh.
• The beautiful Georgian town of Hillsborough with its Castle, lakes, woodland walks, and lovely cafes and restaurants is within 20 minutes drive.
• Take a tour of The Ferguson Linen Factory in Banbridge and buy some beautiful Irish linen.
• Belfast is only 30 minutes drive. Visit the Titanic Museum and take the Wee Tram around the vibrant Titanic Quarter or spend the day on the fabulous Belfast Food Tour.
What kind of breakfast do you offer?
In 2014 we were awarded Georgina Campbell’s “Best Country House Breakfast” and “Irish Breakfast National Winner”,
Breakfast is an occasion in itself at Newforge with an extensive choice of continental and cooked options. Freshly baked wheaten bread is served and guests can enjoy their choice of homemade granola, fresh fruit salad, compote, preserved fruits, nuts and yoghurt whilst they await their hot food which is cooked to order by John. For those wanting to experience the infamous Ulster Fry, we use the best local produce and freshly baked breads- including Moyallon dry cured bacon; Lurgan butcher, Madden’s award winning sausages; and wonderful eggs laid by our chickens. This all washed down with your choice of artisan leaf tea from Suki Tea or Upperlands ground coffee.
The food critic and writer, Charles Campion said, “One of the world’s great breakfasts... Everything is cooked to order. The smoked salmon that goes with the scrambled egg comes from Walter Ewing on Belfast’s Shankhill Road. The eggs come from “the chickens in the orchard”. The award winning sausages come from Madden the butcher. The bacon comes from Moyallon…. Add good tea and charming service…. Ulster may be the breakfast capital of Europe.”
Do you offer other meals? And can you recommend good places to eat out locally?
We offer an intimate dining experience for guests and non residents. Our 3-Course dinner menu changes daily and is served at 8.00pm, Tuesday – Saturday. We offer light meal options for overnight guests wishing to dine on Sunday or Monday evening. As proud winner of Good Food Ireland's “Culinary Haven of the Year”, and Georgina Campbell’s “Best Country House Breakfast” and “Irish Breakfast National Winner”, we showcase the best local seasonal produce.
Home-grown and local seasonal food is at the heart of Newforge House. Our dinner menu offers the best seasonal produce from our gardens and local artisan suppliers. Our aim is to cook excellent local produce simply, but with precision. We have a small orchard which provides fruits for desserts, chutneys and preserves. Home-grown fruit and vegetables also feature in our dinner menu. Our food reflects the elegant simplicity of our Georgian Country House and gardens.
Clenaghan’s Restaurant, near our neighbouring village of Moira, has been operating for over 250 years and the charm of the place is evident as soon as you arrive. It is a beautifully preserved stone pub which exudes charm. The white-washed walls, stone floors, roaring open fire and antique tables create a gloriously cosy and relaxing atmosphere. www.clenaghans.com
Which are your most popular room types, and why?
Our superior Hanna Room with its kingsize four poster bed, drapes, and large windows with uninterrupted views of green fields and trees is undoubtedly our most romantic and popular room. The large bathroom even boasts its own period fireplace.
What facilities do you have for children and can you fit extra beds in your rooms?
We can accommodate babies up to one year old and children aged 8 and above. We provide cots for babies up to one year old and children from 8 years of age and above can stay in a campbed in their parents’ room. Our Spence Room is best suited for families.
What message would you like to give Hotel Guru readers?
Set on the edge of a small village Newforge House is a lovingly restored Georgian Country House that boasts wonderful mature gardens which provide an oasis of calm. As a small family run Guesthouse, we aim to make each guest feel very much at home.
Newforge house is the perfect location for a romantic break, an intimate family gathering, or a magical small wedding. Our central location also makes Newforge a perfect touring base for touring Northern Ireland, with Lough Neagh around the corner and Belfast just 30 minutes drive.”