Londonderry Arms changes hands at start of new chapter

Londonderry Arms changes hands at start of new chapter

The historic Londonderry Arms in Carnlough has changed hands for the first time in 75 years.

It had been owned and managed by the O’Neill family since 1947 but following the retirement of Denise O’Neill, a consortium headed by hotelier Adrian McLaughlin, master Irish whiskey distiller Darryl McNally and business entrepreneur Carl Harrison has bought the 35-bedroom property.

Adrian McLaughlin said: “This is a hotel with an exceptional history, one that will forever be synonymous with the O’Neill family, and we understand and respect that.

“What’s more, Denise and her team have set incredibly high professional standards of quality and service in comfort, food and, of course, Irish whiskey. Maintaining those standards will be our prime consideration.”

The Londonderry Arms began life as a coaching inn, built in 1848 by Frances Ann Vane Tempest, Marchioness of Londonderry.

The estate subsequently passed down through generations and at one point was inherited by Winston Churchill.

His framed deeds of ownership are still on display in the hotel – along with local artworks, antique furniture plus of course many original restored Georgian features.

Following their purchase of the Londonderry Arms, Frank and Moira O’Neill were careful to preserve its heritage, building up the reputation of the hotel until they in turn passed it on to their late son, Frankie, who undertook a significant development programme.

Over the last seven decades the Londonderry Arms has served the community of Carnlough and communities the length of the Antrim coast.

Denise O’Neill explained: “It was symbiotic really. The hotel benefited the small local economy of this beautiful coastline, but without its people, those who worked in the hotel and those who visited as guests, it would not have been the success it has been over so many years.

“As our family exits the business, we want to pay tribute to all of those people for their loyalty to the Londonderry Arms. It has been and will always be greatly appreciated.”