Back to the future at historic Carrickfergus hotel building

Councillors Cheryl Johnston and Robin Stewart with Kirsty Fallis, owner of  Dobbins Inn Hotel.
Councillors Cheryl Johnston and Robin Stewart with Kirsty Fallis, owner of Dobbins Inn Hotel.

The histories and mysteries of the Dobbins Inn Hotel building were explored at the official opening of the newly restored Carrickfergus High Street premises.

Archaeologist Paul Logue gave a talk and tour on the history of the building and some of its fascinating tales of years gone by and Samuel Wilson, project consultant, was at hand to talk about the restoration.

Mulled wine and mince pies were served.

Mulled wine and mince pies were served.

Guests learned that a medieval tower house on the site of Dobbins Inn appears on an old map of Carrickfergus dating back to the 1567, at that time occupied by the Dobbin family, and it was then one of several tower houses to line the High Street.

Kirsty Fallis, hotel owner, said: “I was thrilled to see so many people taking the time out of their day to come along and learn more about this fascinating building.

“I want everyone to have a better understanding of the history and stories attached to The Dobbins and I hope this official opening has helped fill in some of the gaps.”

The Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor Maureen Morrow, spoke of the role of Carrickfergus THI Project Board in bringing the project to fruition and congratulated Kirsty on her team’s commitment and determination over the last two years, in rediscovering and carrying out the painstaking restoration and repair of this listed building.

All ages were in attendance at the open morning.

All ages were in attendance at the open morning.

Councillor Cheryl Johnston, chair of Carrickfergus THI Board, said: “The restoration of Dobbins Inn and the development of further THI schemes is beginning to greatly lift the quality and character of our Conservation Area, and to help us appreciate the particular rarity and importance of some of our buildings.

“The scheme will ultimately benefit us all and help us to fully realise Carrickfergus’s potential as an attractive heritage town and a must-see place to visit.”

The THI is an ambitious regeneration scheme for the town’s Conservation Area supported by £1.55million in funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, and £0.55 million from council.

Lorraine Robinson, Investment manager for The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “This fantastic project has returned a small piece of medieval Carrickfergus to the present-day, and gives visitors and local people a real sense of what this place would have been like five centuries ago.

Dr Paul Logue, Carrick THI board advisor, giving a talk on the medieval origins of the building.

Dr Paul Logue, Carrick THI board advisor, giving a talk on the medieval origins of the building.

“Uncovering and sharing the history of the building has increased our understanding of the past and will undoubtedly help others to learn about and enjoy the heritage of Dobbins Inn and the town.”

Learning more about the history of the High Street building.

Learning more about the history of the High Street building.

Guests at the special event.

Guests at the special event.