The Ballylough Bed and Breakfast, located in Bushmills, United Kingdom, features Georgian-style decor throughout the main house and the bunkhouse that can be rented for larger parties. Inside the bed and breakfast are five rooms that guests can stay in from February through October. The home was built in the 1700s, and the owner remarks that she has tried to keep with the original theme and decor style that was used during that time period. Some of the pieces throughout the home have a history that dates back to the early 1900s, such as two chairs that were made for the king and queen to sit on during their visit to the area. The dining room also features a table with history as well. Served each morning between 8:30 and 10 AM, breakfast in the dining room features a "traditional Irish breakfast" made by the owner.
Multiple buildings on the 30 acres that make up Ballylough Bed and Breakfast have been or are currently being restored. The property is surrounded by farmland, according to the owner, and there are wooded areas both on the grounds and nearby. Additionally, on the acreage is a monument called Valley Loc Castle and a "heritage trail" that takes walkers through the woods to a lake on the property. Over time, the owner hopes to renovate each of the smaller buildings on the property to "rehabilitate all the land and buildings" to how they were in the 1700s.
Inside, the main house has five bedrooms for patrons, each with a specific name. The Master Bedroom features a super king-sized bed, as well as an ensuite bathroom with a standup shower. Additionally, the Master Bedroom is the only accommodation in the house that has two rooms: a dressing room as well as a bedroom. Henry's Room is the only guest room that does not have an ensuite shower room, although it still has a private bathroom down the hall. While the majority of rooms have ensuite accommodations, Bruce's Room is the only one with a bathtub instead of a standup shower. The floor space of each room is also listed on the Ballylough Bed and Breakfast website.
Another available accommodation of the Ballylough is the Workers Cottage. this room sleeps up to eight individuals and is separate from the main house. The cottage has a communal sitting area and an area where guests can eat, as well as two bunk rooms and two ensuite shower rooms. Throughout both the bunk house and the main building, provided amenities include a kettle, tea, coffee, milk, sugar, a hair dryer, towels, and bed linens.
For those staying at the inn, breakfast is served each morning in the dining room. The multi-course meal begins with a fresh fruit salad made by June, the owner, along with granola, orange juice, and yogurt. A "traditional Irish breakfast" is served with items such as bacon, sausage, black and white pudding, potato bread, soda bread, mushrooms, and eggs. Upon check-in, guests schedule with June which time they will be eating in the morning, sometime between 8:30 and 10. They can also notify her if there are any food allergies or sensitivities that should be avoided during the meal.
"It is not a hotel experience," June says about the atmosphere at the Ballylough Bed and Breakfast during a guest's stay. She believes one of the reasons for her success over the years is due in part to trying to get to know the people that stay with her. Upon arrival, patrons are greeted and served scones and tea. If they want, June can show them around the main building and point out historical artifacts in the home. One such antique set is two chairs that were made for the King and Queen of England in the early 1900s for their visit to Ireland. June is happy to inform her guests of the historical nature of the home, as well as the touches throughout the home that help guests to understand the history.
In an effort to preserve the antiques and the atmosphere that June tries to instill on the property, children are not allowed to stay at the bed and breakfast. The establishment also does not allow pets, for the same general reasons of preserving the 1700s home. Guests are free to smoke outdoors on the grounds; however, it is not tolerated within the home or the cottage. June would also like her visitors to note that check-in time is between 4 and 6 PM and that, in advance, those coming to stay at the inn should arrange with her what time they will be arriving. She strives to provide a welcoming experience to the home, and with notice in advance of arrival, she can prepare tea and scones, as well as be available in the main house.
Throughout the year, the bed and breakfast hosts several events that guests can participate in. A Halloween light festival is held on the grounds each year, as well as a Santa's trail light festival. There are also a variety of events and activities in the area that patrons can experience, such as the Giant's Causeway, The Rope Bread, and multiple filming sites for the television show Game of Thrones. Additionally, Old Bushmill's Distillery is located near the property, and the water for the distillery originates on the grounds of the bed and breakfast. Places to eat in the area include Tartine, the Bushmill Inn, and the Cove Bistro.
Those who have stayed previously at the establishment often comment on the history of the home, as well as the decor and the grounds. One patron said "June made us feel exceptionally welcome, serving tea and scones on arrival and giving us a tour of the grounds in the morning after breakfast. So much local history here to discover regarding both the family and surrounding area. The breakfast consisted of a delicious fruit salad, cereals, toast, homemade jams and a hearty Ulster fry with potato and soda bread, together with coffee, teas, and juices." June hopes that those who stay at the bed and breakfast can feel happy and relaxed both during and after their stay.
The Ballylough Bed and Breakfast became an inn and part of the hospitality industry in 2017. June and her former husband, the property's current owners, inherited the land and decided to open the edifices across the grounds to the public. Originally purchased by their family in 1789, the building and surrounding area that would become the Ballylough Bed and Breakfast had been passed down through multiple generations.
Throughout June's time owning and operating the bed and breakfast, she has renovated all of the buildings that are in current working order. Due to the historic nature of the homes, June has tried to restore the home as well as the cottage to the original features it was built with. Painting with "traditional Geogian" colors and decorating with antique pieces from the time period, June hopes to share the history of the land with those who visit. In the future, she hopes to continue restoring the other buildings on the premises and opening them to the public. She says that she wants to "share the heritage with as many people as possible for five or six years before [she] retires."