McKeever Group Hotel launches Phase One Changes to Dunadry
ONE year on, since the McKeever Hotel Group added the County Antrim Dunadry Hotel to its portfolio, the Group has announced the completion of the first phase of refurbishment of the hotel, with an investment of £1 million, which includes the Grand Ballroom, the Peacock Lounge and the Linen Suite.
The 80 bedroom hotel with health, leisure and spa facilities has always been in family ownership so although the McKeever Hotel Group was keen to put their stamp on it, they’ve been very sympathetic to the iconic hotel’s history.
Eugene McKeever MBE, managing director of McKeever Hotel Group, explains; “The Dunadry Hotel is a true rarity. It is a wonderful, grand and homely place built on the site of an ancient fort and once home to both paper and linen mills, set alongside the beautiful six mile water river. The hotel is rich with stories from times goneby and has hosted some very memorable events, including the photo of John Hume, David Trimble and Tony Blair in 1998, post the signing of the Good FridayAgreement.
“We want to retain and become custodians of that history but we also wanted to bring the hotel, which had become tired, in to the 21st Century. Our aim is to service the needs of the modern traveller or tourist, the business man or woman, those getting married and also those within the community.
“The work completed has come at a cost and to date we’ve spent some £1 million but we are delighted with the result. As a service driven business, we had to ensure the scope of the work was responsible and very carefully thought out.”
Working in collaboration with Northern Ireland’s leading contractors and interiors designer, BM Interior Design, the McKeever Hotel Group has revitalised the Dunadry Hotel to create a unique experience for visitors and customers alike, with the aim to serve the wider community of County Antrim and beyond.
Eugene continues, “A key component to us was to ensure the preservation of the original features of the hotel while enhancing its comfort and functionality. Working collaboratively with the best local contractors and interior designers throughout Northern Ireland, allowed us to ensure top quality work in only a short six month time frame.
“The Grand Ballroom is fit for any function, for that special day of celebration, a wedding, a birthday, or just a great party, seating up to 240 guests. With soft taupes and greys in elongated vertical panels alongside tall mirror panels and exquisite chandliers, our new décor offers a stunning backdrop for any special occasion.
“The updates to the Peacock Lounge not only offer a direct link to the Linen Suite and Mill Race Restaurant, but in itself, is a stunning space for lunches or afternoon tea.
“Warm copper plaid fabric on arm chairs mixed with leathers and muted textured colours of taupes and stone, carfully balance the wonderful glazed outlook to the Dunadry garden, home of our famous Peace Tree and two beautiful Peacocks.”
The launch of phase one of the refurbishment was commemorated through a series of events, welcoming business men and women from throughout Northern Ireland to tour the new facilities and get a first look at the type of events the hotel has the capacity of facilitating.
“I am very proud of the work the entire team has put in over the last six months and I hope the public love it as much as we do.”
The hotel is situated in Dunadry between Templepatrick and Antrim and is one of five hotels that the Group currently own. They successfully own and operate; Corrs Corner Hotel, Newtownabbey; Dunsilly Hotel, Antrim; Adair Arms Hotel, Ballymena and Dillons Hotel, Letterkenny.
Eugene McKeever MBE recently received a lifetime achievement awards at the Licensed Catering News Awards in Belfast. The McKeever Hotel Group has been part of the tourism and hospitality market in Northern Ireland for nearly twenty five years and currently employs over 200 staff. The Group is keen to continue to invest in the tourism and hospitality industry in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
History of Dunadry
The Cork Display
- A long standing tradition throughout the years of the Dunadry Hotel is The Cork Display, which showcases the champagne cork of every wedding held at the Dunadry Hotel.
- Every couple is asked to signed their champagne cork so that it can be displayed as a simple reminder of their wedding day and as a symbol of celebration for their future together.
The Tree of Peace and Unity
- In the beautiful landscpae gardens of the Dunadry Hotel, proudly sits two giant lime trees that have grown together for over 100 years until they have become inseparable.
- Peace: In May 1998 the two inseparable lime trees became an iconic picture of ‘peace’ in Northern Ireland, as then Prime Minister Tony blair was pictured sitting beneath it with Mr David Trimble and Mr John Hume after the signing of the GoodFriday Agreement.
- Unity: In the gardens stand two trees joined together in holy matrimony. With love, kindness and hope, they grow together in bright light, protecting each other with peace and perfect unity.
The Beautiful Gardens and Six Mile River
- The grounds of the Dunadry hotel is just as rich with stories and historic significant as the hotel itself. The main garden is the proud home of the region’s Peace Tree and the Six Mile River which flows through the grounds along with their century-old mill race creating a peaceful river walk.
- Now home to Picasso and Pandora, their beautiful peacock and peahen who roam the gardens, the pair have now a renowned association with the hotel that they have their own bespoke beer named in their honour.
- There are quite a few theories associated with the famous fireplace that sits proudly in the middle of the hotel. Most are led to believe that the fireplace was taken directly out of Antrim Castle.
- The Ulster Architectural Heritage Society in their Antrim Society have noted that it is the fact that it was built from decorative stones used in the entrance of the Botanical Gardens in Belfast.
The Copper Bar – Wooden Beetles
- The Hotel was built on the grounds of an old linen mill and incorporated some of the linen mill’s unique features such as the Wooden Beetles, which can be seen in our Copper Bar today, giving it its iconic look and design.
- Traditional Wooden Faller ‘Beetles’ were used to impart characteristic lustre to high quality linens.
The Copper Bar
- Dunadry Hotel’s famous Copper Bar derives its name from the model of the Bushmills Distellery process which adorns its wall.
- In the 70s, pieces were removed at the request of the local police to prevent ne’er-do-wells from building their own still at home.
- Dunadry or Dun Eadrahn meaning Middle Fort, is located between Dunseverick, Sobhairce’s Fort and Tara, once the seta of the High Kings.
- Shields of 32 countries of the island of Ireland and flag poles which represented the four provinces of Ulster, Munster, Leinster and Connaught adorn the Rotunda, the main entrance of the hotel.