Skerry Bhan Hotel

The Skerry-Bhan Hotel was a fine Victorian building on Lansdowne Crescent. It boasted a walnut-paneled small ballroom on the first floor with a large curved window at the rear. The dining room and lounge were at the front on the ground floor with extensive views to the east over the Skerries, East Bay, East Strand, White Rocks, Giant’s Causeway and when clear weather permitted, The Mull of Kintyre, Islay and the Paps of Jura. The hotel overlooked a large grass area known as Lansdowne Green which was popular for relaxing and picnicking.

Originally owned by Mr & Mrs James MacFarlane and managed on a daily basis by Mrs Sarah MacFarlane the hotel offered “every comfort, lovely situation … porter meets trains”. The Skerry Bhan Hotel was well known for its fine cuisine. In 1921 Hugh Carson, a native of Belfast, married the MacFarlanes’ daughter Jane.

Skerry Bhan Hotel in the 1960s.

By March 1932 the hotel is boasting of providing twenty bedrooms with hot and cold running water, together with a “Sun Lounge with Vita Glass Windows”. Vita Glass was devised in the mid 1920s as a glass that, unlike normal soda-lime glass, did not block the “beneficial, therapeutic, ultraviolet spectrum of sunlight” – which we know today can be harmful, but then was promising “to let health into the building”. By July the same year, the number of bedrooms with hot and cold running water had dramatically increased to sixty. Clearly this was becoming a facility which guests were looking for in the days when few hotels had en-suite bathrooms.

In January 1939 the Northern Whig reports the sudden death of Mr James MacFarland J.P. and by March 1953 management of the hotel has passed to Mrs Jane Carson and onto Dennis Carson, her son. Dennis was to continue to run the hotel until its closure in the latter years of the 20th century, when it was sold and converted into a residential care home. The building was destroyed by fire during renovations in the first decade of the 21st century and the site continues to lie vacant.