There are presently two ferries to Rathlin Island: a fast passenger ferry; and a slower ferry for passengers and vehicles. On my trip over to Rathlin I took the slow ferry at 10am from Ballycastle in County Antrim.
I stayed for two days at the Manor House, the island's main guest-house right at the harbour. In fact, when the ferry leaves you off, it's a mere two minutes (if that) to the Manor-house. I checked in early, at 10:50am which was no problem at all. I was given my room key, number nine, and settled in.
Room 9, like most of the bedrooms, has a wonderful sea view. It overlooks the harbour, from where you can watch the boats, pier, and everything else. My window was small - the manor-house is early Georgian. My room was fine: small, with a single bed at the window, sufficient space for clothing, a wardrobe, wash hand-basin, plenty of towels, a glass,liquid soap and tea-making facility with kettle, cup, sugar etc.
The bath-rooms are just across the corridor. The manor-house is long and narrow in shape because of the steep hill at the back so the rooms are all at the front while the toilets, baths and showers are at the back!
I breakfasted in the dining-room at 8.30am. I enjoyed my full meal of fruit-juice, cereal, plenty of toast, a fully cooked breakfast consisting of a sausage, a rasher of lean bacon, fried egg, potato bread, soda bread and half a tomato washed down with tea or coffee. I thought it was great - freshly cooked, by the way.
I dined there too, in the evenings. There is not a massive choice but it's perfectly acceptable and the choice includes sea-food, chicken, sirloin steak and a veggie option. They specialize in lobster which costs £25 (2009). The dining-room is fairly spacious and the decor is plain. Tables are well spaced out. I had a glass of wine one evening which was generous - more like two glasses!
There is a little bar at one end of the manor-house called The Auld Kitchen. It is so small that you are bound to make acquaintance with your neighbour!
About Rathlin: if you enjoy nature, wildlife, the great outdoors and remarkably unspoiled scenery this is the place for you. I'm fond of Rathlin. Don't expect anything like the Ritz or facilities like the Internet here - it's a good place to escape from them! There are two pubs, two churches, one primary school, a grocer's, a post-office, the RSPB, a National Trust walk and more.
Do hire a bike: it's a great way of seeing the island and costs £7 per day.
Although I'd booked my return sailing for 5.30pm I decided to leave at 12 noon and that was no problem: if there is a seat on the ferry, they'll take you.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Please note that the Manor House is now closed until further notice, awaiting some refurbishment. The Manor House is a lovely, late Georgian property overlooking the harbour in Rathlin Island's Church Bay. All guest rooms are south facing, with sea views. It's the perfect place for those wishing to enjoy peace, tranquility and an island to explore. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- The Manor House Hotel Rathlin Island
- The Manor House Rathlin Island, Northern Ireland