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Ulster Bank-backed tourist accommodation McNaughton Guestrooms

McNaughton Guestrooms, a new luxury tourist accommodation in the Glens of Antrim, is set to welcome for guests for the first time following a six-figure investment supported by Ulster Bank.

McNaughton Guestrooms in Cushendall, owned by Terence McNaughton, the publican behind the popular Lurig Inn in the town, was set to open its doors for the first time when lockdown measures were introduced back in March.

The introduction of lockdown meant that despite the investment and fit-out of the new accommodation being completed months ago Terence has been unable to welcome any guests or take bookings.

Terence is now preparing to welcome guests for the first time.

He says, “We invested in McNaughton Guestrooms to enhance our offer and to supplement the pub business with additional revenue from the tourist accommodation. Little did we know that both sides of the business would experience such a sudden shock just as we were about to open.

“These circumstances are new to all of us,” he adds. “We ventured into new territory with McNaughton Guestrooms during what turned out to be an incredibly challenging time for business owners. The support Ulster Bank has given us throughout this period has been essential to the future of our business and has enabled us to prepare for our reopening.”

Terence says the closure of a local hotel was a significant loss for the town, but an opportunity for his latest venture.

“We had many customers in the bar asking for recommendations for accommodation. There was a clear local need and we had the real estate to fill the void.

“The Lurig Inn had a large function room on the second floor as well as the capacity to host functions in the ground floor lounge too. We knew we could better utilise the available space and generate additional income.”

McNaughton Guestrooms features six en-suite rooms, including four doubles, one triple and a family-sized room.

Ulster Bank Business Development Manager Conor McNeill says, “Over the coming weeks and months we expect to see heightened demand for domestic getaways and staycations, a trend Terence is well positioned to benefit from.

“There is so much to see and do for the local tourist in the Glens of Antrim and Terence has developed top-class accommodation to match the expectations set by the area’s exceptional natural beauty and leading attractions and experiences.”

Terence has positive expectations for demand when McNaughton Guestrooms opens.

“It has always surprised me just how many people live a short journey from these stunning landscapes, destinations that attract tourists from around the world, yet they have never fully explored what is right on their doorstep. I’m confident we’ll start to see more appreciation for our surroundings and that will bring a welcomed boost for the local tourism and hospitality industry.”