Property of the Week | Irish Landmark Trust


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Property of the Week

Where we have an in-depth look at a property in the care of Irish Landmark Trust.

Week Three – Drum Gatelodge

Drum Gatelodge, Co. Antrim– Sleeps up to 2 people  

Drum Gatelodge – so named because of its shape – is located just outside the town of Bushmills. It is a very eye-catching dwelling with gothic windows and a distinctive castellated parapet. Over the front door a tiny bull’s eye window lights the landing, to which the stairs wind up from beside the point where the original open fireplace was situated (now replaced by a wood-burning stove). The circular theme is repeated in the piers and iron gates.

Drum Gatelodge 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.

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 1910–1922 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.  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.  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.

Drum Gatelodge is a unique and pretty two storey gatelodge available to rent as self-catering accommodation for up to 2 people and 1 pet. It is situated on a quiet country road – and its rustic setting makes it an ideal romantic retreat from the stresses of everyday life.


1 Double Bedroom – Gas Fired Central Heating – Underfloor Heating – Peat briquette burning stove – Electric Oven – Microwave – Fridge – Towels & Linens Provided – Travel cot/crib for infants (under 2 years), on request – Iron & Ironing Board – Cooking Utensils and Equipment – 1 Bathroom with Bath Tub – Sitting Room – Garden and Garden Furniture – Patio area – Countryside setting – Car Parking














Sleeping 2 people in 1 double Room and welcomes 1 dog. Drum Gatelodge is currently part of our “Gate Escape” Special Offer with 10% off new bookings for a stay in January, February or March stays (excluding Bank Holiday or St. Patrick’s Weekend).


Week Two – Salterbridge Gatelodge



Salterbridge Gatelodge, Co. Waterford – Sleeps up to 2 people  

Salterbridge Gatelodge, located in the glorious Blackwater valley, dates from the mid-19th century.  Situated on the Salterbridge estate, on the valley road a mile from the charming village of Cappoquin, the lodge is only 6 miles from the Heritage Town of Lismore, about 10 miles from the sea at Youghal and Dungarvan, and at the foot of the Knockmealdown Mountains.


This tiny pavilion gatelodge was built around 1849 by the Chearnley family who owned the estate from the mid-18th century until the 1950s.    Its function, like all gatelodges, was to indicate to the passer-by the good standing and taste of the original owner, and to showcase some of the features of the original architect’s work, re-interpreted from the big house.

It is a building of fine ashlar stonework and of charming classical proportions.  The lodge was occupied up until the early part of the 20th century and after this it fell into ruin.  When Irish Landmark Trust took it on as a restoration project in 1999 the building was roofless, windowless, overgrown and a section of the back wall had collapsed.  A considerable amount of repair to the stone was required.  Its long exposure to the weather and, in places, original incorrect bedding of the stone, had resulted in loss of some of the decorative surface of the ashlar blocks.

The restoration works involved the retention and repair of most of the original stone.  

Fallen facing sections from the surrounding overgrowth were salvaged and re-instated.  Three pieces of new stone were required in total and this stone was obtained from small loose blocks in the disused quarry at Lismore Castle – a possible source of the original.

The symmetrical layout of the original lodge was retained with a small extension formed to the rear (which had always projected slightly) – the new extension being equal in dimension to the side bays to either side of it.  Thus the fine proportions of the building are maintained.  The extension has been finished externally 

with a lined, lime render – sufficient supply of matching stone was not easily available.  However, the render allows the ‘new’ to be read against the original.  Internal walls and ceilings throughout are finished with lime plasters and paints and, with a fine quality of natural light in all rooms, this provides a healthy and pleasing atmosphere throughout.

The carefully crafted work of the masons, joiners, plasterers and other tradespeople involved, brought this formerly ruinous and vulnerable building back to health and restored it to use.



The lodge is simply furnished in an elegant Victorian style, using a muted palette throughout and in historic colours in a raw pigment limewash.  The principal rooms are furnished in a vernacular style, using mahogany pieces.

The original entrance hall, now designated as “the Garden Room” is apple green, with a round table.  The bedroom is painted off-white, and has an early Victorian mahogany double bed with barley twist ends and a traditional handwoven carpet in crimson.  The wardrobe, chest of drawers and lockers are plain early Victorian.  The shutters have been re-instated in the windows, with holland blinds added.  The sitting room is pale yellow, with a handwoven carpet in gold and ochre. The bathroom is finished in white, and there are timber floors throughout, except for the flagged hall.  The kitchen is fitted with an oak table, and traditional sugán chairs, a traditional dresser, timber counter tops and a Belfast sink. The fittings are blue-green.

Sleeping 2 people in 1 double Room and welcome 1 dog.  Salterbridge Gatelodge is currently part of our “Gate Escape” Special Offer with 10% off new bookings for a stay in January, February or March stays (excluding Bank Holiday or St. Patrick’s Weekend).


  • 1 Double Bedroom
  • Underfloor Heating
  • Wood Burning Stove
  • Electric Oven
  • Microwave
  • Fridge/Freezer
  • Towels and Linens Provided
  • Travel cot/crib for infants (under 2 years), on request
  • Hair Dryer
  • Iron & Ironing Board
  • Cooking Utensils and Equipment
  • 1 Bathroom with bath tub and overhead shower
  • Sitting Room with Wood Burning Stove
  • Garden with Garden Furniture
  • River views
  • Radio
  • Car Parking


Week One – Ballealy Cottage


Ballealy Cottage, Co. Antrim – Sleeps up to 5 people  

Ballealy Cottage is situated on Shane’s Castle Estate, in County Antrim.  Built from local blackstone in around 1835 for the estate deerkeeper, it is said to be modelled in miniature on the lodge of the Windsor forest ranger, possibly by Richard Morrison.   It is set in woodland, by a stream at the end of a long lane, and has a fairytale appearance of irregular gables, ornate bargeboards and octagonal chimneys.

Built around a tiny central courtyard, the main part of the building is two storey, and the design is irregular, giving rise to a series of gables and half-hipped roofs, further broken up by bays which are set  forward and topped by half-hipped gables.  The bargeboard is a heavily moulded design, with trefoils cut out of semicircles, and bold horned curls at the lower ends.  The restoration retained many of its original features, including original fireplaces, a solid fuel fired laundry, and the cobbles in one of the rooms which was formerly a store.

A philosophy of repair rather than replacement of damaged elements was followed.  Tiny paint remnants were matched when decorating and salvaged items were reused wherever possible.  The outbuildings include a Venison Store, which also received some work to prevent further deterioration.

Located close to the shores of Lough Neagh, Ballealy Cottage is a nature lover’s paradise.  With a wonderful wildlife garden and surroundings to explore this property is ideal for people who want to escape from the hustle and bustle life.   Guests have reported sightings of deers, foxes, bats, owls and rabbits roaming through the beautiful wildlife garden surrounded by woodland.

Ballealy Bats:

With zero light pollution Ballealy Cottage is perfect for star gazing and watching the resident bat colony returning to roost in the evenings.    The Ballealy Cottage colony mainly consist of soprano pipistrelles P.pygmaeus, common pipistrelles P.pipistrellus and the possibility of visiting early Leisler’s N. leisleri.  

In March, female bats begin to form maternity colonies and roost collectively. In the months from May to August each female bat may give birth to a single baby bat, called a pup.  The pups are cared for in a nursery colony until they are able to fly at 4 weeks and are weaned at 6 weeks.  Throughout the spring, summer and autumn months, bats emerge at night to forage for their insect prey. During autumn, they must seek to store enough body fat to sustain them through the winter, a time when insect abundance is markedly reduced. From the month of September, bats in Ireland enter a state of hibernation or they may migrate. They are prompted to enter hibernation by changing day length, which stimulates hormonal changes.


  • Sleeps up to 5 people
  • Welcomes 1 dog.
  • 1 Double Room
  • 1 Twin Room (downstairs)
  • 1 Single Room (downstairs)
  • Oil Fired Central Heating
  • Open Fire in Sitting Room
  • Electric Oven
  • Range in Dining Room
  • Microwave
  • Washing Machine
  • Fridge/Freezer
  • Towels and Linens Provided
  • Travel cot/crib for infants (under 2 years), on request
  • Hair dryer
  • Iron and Ironing Board
  • Cooking utensils and equipment
  • 1 Bathroom with roll top bathtub
  • Separate Shower room downstairs
  • Sitting Room
  • Snug
  • Large garden and garden furniture
  • Forest location with lots of wildlife such as deer, bats, foxes, etc;
  • Radio
  • Car parking

Ballealy Cottage currently has 25% off discount on new bookings for a stay in January or February 2019 and with blankets of Snowdrops currently on display, now is a perfect time to visit. Click here > Ballealy Cottage 

Special Notes: Please note that the lane on the way to Ballealy Cottage is a long and very narrow country lane with a number of farm gates that you will have to go through.

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