About Laurel Villa
Guest House Magherafelt
This fabulous Magherafelt guesthouse has 4 individually styled bedrooms, all
en suite. From the wood-panelled dining room to the art nouveau detail
in the bedrooms, it oozes quality and style ... yet at a price to
suit most pockets! You'll get a 5 star welcome that will have you wanting to return time and time again. It is also unique in being the only accommodation in Ireland where Ulster-born poets and Irish poetry are celebrated.
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Laurel Villa has the charm and ambience of an earlier age combined with
the comforts and amenities found in a boutique hotel or other good hotels. Check out the photos
and the recommendations and then come and experience it for yourself. It is a place of accommodation where people come as a stranger and leave as a friend!
Our Facilities: We have all the usual facilities one would
expect from a top-class establishment ... and a few extra ones thrown
in for good measure, including a unique Seamus Heaney Exbibition and a Reading Room for Finding Your Roots and Local History. We also have facilities for meetings
and training sessions which will suit small groups who value personal
service coupled with a more private setting. It is the ideal place for a Magherafelt holiday or a short break.
Access: Our guesthouse is nearly 140 years old. Whilst we aim to meet the needs of all our guests there are some period features which might make access difficult for people with limited mobility. Our guest rooms are located over two floors accessed via stairs. We do not have ground floor accommodation so we are unsuitable for wheelchair users. To facilitate those with limited mobility we have added a second handrail at the first flight of stairs.
Our Food: At Laurel Villa we use only the finest produce,
locally sourced and as fresh as the wind that blows off the nearby
Slieve Gallen. We are currently featured in the Georgina Campbell Guide 2011, a guidebook
which is regarded as a beacon for all lovers of good food and quality
accommodation. A range of cooked breakfasts is available, including
the traditional Ulster Fry that we are famed for. All meals are
cooked to order and in a way which will appeal to the health-conscious
as well as satisfying the taste buds. We cater for people who need special diets, including caeoliacs/celiacs who enjoy our gluten free alternatives. A Laurel Villa specialty
is our mouth-watering fresh fruit salad. A small herb garden produces fresh
garnishes and seasoning throughout the year and visitors are often
greeted by the smell of freshly baked traditional wheaten bread
as it wafts its way from the kitchen through the house.
Steam rises from a cup of tea
and we are wrapped in history,
inhaling ancient times and lands,
comfort of ages in our hands.
There are a number of fine restaurants in Magherafelt Town. We will be happy to book a table for you. On special occasions we
can provide dinner here on the premises at Laurel Villa for parties
of up to eight guests.
Our History: If you like to stay in places that are that
little bit different then you've found the perfect spot. This Victorian
house, built about 1870, has real character and a chequered history. Of the surviving nineteenth century buildings in Magherafelt, this is one of the most recognisable and interesting. It has featured in
the European Heritage Open Days scheme and has been described by
local historian Ivor Hawe as one of the landmark buildings of Magherafelt.
The house is believed to have been built by William John Derby
a local linen merchant and to have been occupied in it’s early years
by people from the medical profession. One of them was the famous
Dr. Mitchell Hunter a former surgeon to the Durham Light Infantry
who became a family doctor in this town. He was a familiar figure as he did his
rounds by pony and trap. His grand-daughter from Australia has
been a guest - view her comments on our Recommendations page. Dr. Hunter also acted as Deputy Medical Officer of
Laurel Villa Bridal Party January 1918
Rev. McCammon, Mrs. McCammon, John Shiels, Mrs. Shiels, Rev. Hanson,
Mrs. Hanson, Master Charles Hunter
Mrs. Martin, Rev. Martin, Gertrude Hunter, Rev. James Graham(groom),
Frances Hunter (bride), Mrs. Hunter, Dr. Mitchell Hunter
(Photo courtesy of Colleen Donohue Australia)
News Item from Mid-Ulster
Mail, Saturday 19 January 1918:
Interesting Magherafelt Wedding
A very interesting wedding took place in Union Road Presbyterian Church on Wednesday, 9th inst., the contracting parties being Rev. James Graham, B.A. Co. Monaghan, to Frances Mary, eldest daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Hunter, Laurel Villa, Magherafelt. The bride entered the church leaning on her father's arm, who gave her away. She looked lovely in a beautiful dress of ivory georgetta, over satin, veil and wreath of orange blossoms, her only ornament being aquamarine and pearl pendant, the gift of the bridegroom. She carried a magnificent sheaf of madonna lillies. Miss Gertrude Hunter, the bride's sister, acted as bridesmaid. She looked charming in a dress of white georgetta, over silk, with little touches of pink and a pretty velure hat. She wore a pearl pendant, the bridegroom's gift, and carried a bouquet of pink carnations and asparagus fern. The bridegroom was attended by Rev. David Maybin, B.A., Cookstown. The ceremony was performed by the Rev. W.J.Hanson, assisted by Rev. Robert McCammon. A great number were present in the church to witness the happy event; the bridal party leaving the church amidst the happy congratulations of many friends and showers of confetti. They drove to Laurel Villa, the residence of the bride's father, where they were photographed, and after luncheon the happy couple left by carriage for Cookstown, en route mail train to Kingston, where the honeymoon was spent. The bride's going away costume was of tweed, with lovely velure hat and set of silver fox fur, the gift of the bride's mother.
Another former occupant of Laurel Villa was Monsignor John Ward
P.P. of Magherafelt who used it as a Parochial House until the present Parochial House in King Street was built.
It was he who founded St. Mary's School Magherafelt in 1927 It has gone on to establish
a superb reputation in academic and sporting circles.
Laurel Villa has also been at times both a dental surgery and
a veterinary surgery. Countless items are dotted around the house
which preserve the memory of these former residents, including a
collection of old medicine bottles that belong to Dr. Hunter's era.
The house as it stands today though owes much to the work of the
Mary Kielt, Eugene’s late mother, who purchased it
in 1961. Along with her family, including her daughter the late Dymphna, she transformed it into the guesthouse that has over the years become
synonymous with Magherafelt. For all its rich and lengthy history
it has that warm and homely feel that is so often lacking in stately
homes and modern hotels. When you first come you will feel as if
you've known it all your life.
Our Location: We are superbly located in the centre of Magherafelt
which itself lies at the heart of Northern Ireland. Rarely does
one come across accommodation of such quality and value-for-money
in such a convenient location.
Our Reputation: Our reputation as a place of hospitality
is widespread. Like the Bruideans or Guesthouses of Ancient Ireland
that were centres of Hospitality in bygone days, this Magherafelt guesthouse is renowned across Ireland and beyond. We have a solid reputation for customer service, quality, professionalism and integrity.
Laurel Villa Events: Look out for special Magherafelt events
at Laurel Villa. We hold regular poetry readings. The most memorable one was An Evening
with Seamus Heaney. The world famous poet graced us with his presence and left the audience 'gaping at his Midas touch.'
Special offers are
available for guests who wish to attend one of our unique events. For information on events and special offers go to our Events & Special Offers page. If you wish to be kept informed about the On Home Ground Poetry Festival 2013 go to our Register for Festival page.
Our Commitment: We are committed to carrying on the fine tradition
of hospitality that Laurel Villa has built up over the years. So contact us today. We know you won't be disappointed!