Armagh is  the least-populated city in both Northern Ireland and on the island of Ireland, and the fourth smallest in the United Kingdom. Nestled in the heart of this tiny city is a sprawling estate. It is, quite simply, the kind of place that we all dream of escaping to.

I had the privilege of staying here.

Newforge House is one of Ireland’s–nay, the world’s–most beautiful hotels.

In fact, it does not look or feel like a hotel. It is a 5 Star Georgian Country House that has been carefully restored to retain its original feel, yet fitted with all the modern comforts a traveller needs.

Winner of numerous awards and proud member of Ireland’s Blue Book and Historic Hotels of Europe, Newforge House is cradled among beautiful gardens, and tucked in the midst of emerald green fields, with the clucking of happy hens to boot! It is a zone of quiet beauty and deep calm. Think log fires, snug sofas, polished wood, good books, and fresh food. And yet, Belfast is just 30 minutes away!

The house has been in the Mathers family for generations. Today, John and Lou Mathers run the place:



An extremely talented and discerning chef, John sources every ingredient fresh, making each meal a delight to savour.


The greens in your salad, the fruit in your dessert and the eggs on your breakfast table are all sourced from the estate itself.


On arrival, you are invited to relax by the fire in the cosy drawing room whilst enjoying a pot of artisan leaf tea or freshly brewed coffee with homemade biscuits.

Afterwards, you can stroll the mature gardens that surround the mansion, or relax in your room with a book.


The house and gardens are available for exclusive hire, making it a wonderful venue for an intimate family gathering, or a magical small wedding. 

The central location also makes Newforge a perfect base for touring Northern Ireland. We recommend you rent a car, and set aside at least a week to soak in the serenity of the mansion as well as the beauteous landscapes that surround it.

Review by Shubhra Krishan