Bushmills, Co Antrim
The Drum is a unique and pretty two storey gatelodge.
The Drum is a unique and pretty two storey gatelodge. The Drum is situated on a quiet country road - and its rustic setting makes it an ideal romantic retreat from the stresses of everyday life.
Special Note: Guests to not have access to the private estate.
Slide the bar to compare before and after photos
Drum Gate Lodge was built at the end of a long avenue of beech trees at the western edge of the Ballylough Estate in 1800, by Archdeacon Traill two years after he bought the estate. His family are still in residence. No records are yet available for the occupants of The Drum before 1898, when one Lizzie Taggart and her husband came to live there. Both of the Taggarts were employed on the estate, he as a farm labourer, and she as the 'hen girl' looking after the geese, ducks and hens. The Taggart family lived there until 1962, after which it remained vacant.
History of Drum Gate Lodge
Archdeacon Traill, whose family still own the estate, built the Drum Gatelodge (also known as Ballylough West Lodge) at the end of a long avenue of beech trees at the western entrance to the Ballylough Estate in 1800. The Lodge was tiny, with two rooms linked by a stone staircase. It was a dwelling with no running water, an outside two-holer and you pumped your own water from the well on the opposite side of the avenue. It was always lived in by estate workers, but there are no records of the occupants prior to 1898 when Lizzie Taggart and her husband came to live there. Both of the Taggarts were employed on the estate, he as a farm labourer, and she as the 'hen girl' looking after the geese, ducks and hens.
Mr. Taggart died sometime between 1910-1920 leaving Lizzie with a family of two daughters, named Elizabeth and Martha, and a son called Joseph. Elizabeth married a Mr. Callaghan and went to live in nearby Castlecatt, where they had a family of four sons and a daughter. Martha moved to Cloughmills and married Mr. White, a farmer. Robbie (Robert), one of her children, was sent back to be reared by his grandmother at the lodge. He was sent to the local school at Ballylough, became a bus driver, and lived at the lodge with his grandmother until her death in 1962. Robbie then came to live in Bushmills, where he set up a small business in the Main Street, and died in his 70s.
Lizzie's son, Joseph, joined the Army at the outbreak of the First World War served in France, and married on his return. He was employed by local farmers and latterly worked with a local coal delivery firm. Joseph had two children, Joseph and Margaret. Joseph (junior) worked locally in Coleraine until the outbreak of the World War Two when he joined the Army. He was stationed in Scotland where he met and married a local girl. He is still living in Scotland after 63 years - he and his wife are now in their mid 80s. Margaret worked in local factories as a seamstress, married Edward Crawford and had a family of four.
Lizzie Taggart herself was quite a character, Mrs. Shanks (who lived nearby as a child) has vivid recollections of her from as far back as the 1940's:
" My childhood was spent on a farm just along the road away from Bushmills, and I remember Mrs. Taggart and Robbie, her grandson, and their quaint home. We children spent the first few years of our school life (under the beady eye of Mrs Briggs!) at the wee two teacher school at Castlecatt. We had permission to take a short cut through the estate, and as we always walked to school, this saved some time and shoe leather. We passed right by the lodge twice a day and often saw and chatted to Mrs. Taggart. We knew that her name was Lizzie, but to us children, she was always Mrs. Taggart.
We were in no hurry on that homeward journey - we'd dawdle among the trees, pick the odd wild flower or play tag around the trees near the Lodge. Mrs. Taggart might have been feeding hens or carrying in water from the well, as we passed. Although kindly, Mrs. Taggart was fairly outspoken, and voiced her opinion when the occasion demanded it. My brother James and I, being the youngest, usually walked home together, and we still laugh about the time when he left me behind among the trees while he ran off without me. I was crying, so I was escorted into the Lodge with soothing noises and some tit bit or other, and James was sent off with her opinions ringing in his ears and no goodies!"
Lizzie's tenancy was from 1898 to 1962, and reports of her housekeeping show the great changes in domestic habits throughout her married life, as well as resourcefulness in bringing up a family in such a small space
She cooked on an open peat fire with a crook and hooks and a griddle, and made soda bread and potato cakes daily.
"We used to watch her baking apple tarts - pastry rolled out on a wooden baking board with a shallow gallery around three sides, and a goose wing to brush up the surplus flour. The tart was put into a heavy iron pot and hooked over a fire glowing with embers. She'd use long black tongs to pile more embers on the lid. Sometimes if we looked in on our way home, she'd be baking soda bread, and we'd be offered some, hot from the griddle, with country butter that melted and ran through your fingers. Sometimes there was home made jam."
Life then was very different from now. Mrs Taggart had oil lamps and candles, and a flat iron with a hollow inside where you inserted a shaped heated stone and retained it by sliding down a little door at the back. Beside her fire on the hearth was a Gothic style window, and then a door opening onto spiral stone steps which followed the contour of the wall to where she and Robbie slept. The Lodge had a half leaf door - handy for leaning over - and the usual dresser with lots of plates and striped delph bowls.
Mrs. Shanks recalls that "occasionally when we called, the peddlers would be there, always the same two women - they walked the roads in all weathers. They were mother and daughter, one youngish, plump and smiling, the mother pale and frail looking (I remember them vividly) They'd set their big basket down and display their wares - pins, buttons, elastic, ribbons, and all kinds of haberdashery.
After the business was transacted, there'd be big mugs of tea and bread and then they'd go to my mother who would buy what she wanted and give them what she had to spare - Changed times!"
While at the lodge, Lizzie also kept her own hens, two goats and a collie dog. She sold her eggs to the grocery van or cart, so paying for her own groceries. She was also responsible for opening and closing the back gates for tradesmen, and if she didn't like you, she just wouldn't open them - all in all quite a character. After Lizzie's death in 1962, the Lodge became vacant, and has remained unoccupied since.
Information above provided by:
• Mr. and Mrs. E. Crawford and daughter Kathryn. (Mr Crawford is the great grandson of Mrs Taggart );
• Mr. Joe Taggart, grandson of Mrs. Taggart.;
• Ms. Emma Sutcliffe, and her mother Mrs. Linda Sutcliffe who grew up on Ballylough Estate where her father was the Gamekeeper/ Estate Carpenter;
• Edna Shanks, who lived as a child at a nearby farm, and spent much of her time on the estate going to and from school;
• Richard and Pam Traill, the owners of Ballylough Estate.
Nearby: Bushmills (3 kms) Shop (3 kms) Restaurant (3 kms) Beach - Portballiontrae; Portrush Attractions; Giant's Causeway; Carrick-a-Rede Ropebridge; Bushmills Distillery
GPS: 55.1752991 , -6.520586
Can I bring a dog?
Yes. Check the Irish Landmark T&Cs re bringing dogs to Irish Landmark properties.
Is linen supplied?
Yes – the bed is prepared and ready for your arrival.
Is there an open fire?
No. However there is a Peat briquette burning stove in the sitting room.
Can I bring more than one dog?
This property is only suitable for one dog.
Can I light a fire?
Yes. You can light the peat briquette burning stove in the sitting room.
Do I need a car to get here?
It would be preferable to have a car as otherwise it will be difficult to get to shops, etc.
How do I get the keys?
When you complete your booking, you will receive an email giving you information about arranging access on your arrival date.
Can I arrive early?
Only by special arrangement with the bookings office and agreement of the local House Manager. A charge is made if you are requesting a morning arrival, as this means we cannot take a booking for the night before your arrival date.
What is the latest departure time?
10.00am. The House Manager will discuss arrangements for your departure on the day you arrive.
How far to the nearest town?
About 5 mins drive back to Bushmills.
Is there a caterer who will come in to cook meals?
We do not know of anyone who can go in to cook meals at this property.
Is it suitable for children?
This is a small property that only sleeps 2 people. However a travel cot can be provided on request for babies.
Is it suitable for older people?
This property is not suitable for anyone with mobility issues. The bedroom is reached by a narrow winding staircase.
Does it have facilities for disabled people?
Is it suitable for a wheelchair?
Is there central heating?
There is gas central heating with radiators throughout the house.
Is the cooker electric or gas?
There is an electric cooker
Is there a shower?
Yes - there is a shower over bath in the single bathroom.
How many bathrooms?
Do you supply towels and bed linen?
Yes. The beds will be made up on your arrival and you will be provided with a bath towel and guest towel according to the number of beds in the property.
Can I get to the house by public transport?
Yes. You would get a train or bus to Coleraine and a local bus to Bushmills. A taxi could take you onwards from there to the gatelodge. However, you would need a car to get to local shops, etc.
Where is the nearest train station?
What type of heating is in the house?
Gas central heating.
Can I book for just one night?
What is your minimum booking period?
Our minimum booking period from 1st January 2017 our minimum booking period will be 2 nights. Some Special Dates will have restrictions on number of nights and arrival date.
Is there a garden at the house?
Yes. There is a lawned area.
Is there outdoor furniture.
Yes, a table and chairs are provided.
How many cars can I bring to the house?
Is there parking on site?
Is there a tv?
No, but there is a radio, board games, cards and plenty of books.
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