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Larchfield Estate invests £150,000 in new event space

From left, Dr Ken Baird, honorary secretary of The Institute of NI Beekeepers; Alderman Allan Ewart MBE; Sarah Mackie, owner of Larchfield Estate; and Alice McIlhagger, Brambleberry Jams.

Larchfield Estate owners Sarah and Gavin Mackie have invested £150,000 to convert a Lanyon-designed building on the Co Down estate into The Old Piggery, an events space for groups staying overnight on the Estate to dine, meet or attend workshops.

While The Old Piggery has maintained its original features, the space has been completely transformed to provide overnight guests and corporate public groups the opportunity to gather together for breakfasts, strategic meetings and high-end dining within the stunning country surroundings of the Estate.

The event space will also be available to book for private onsite workshops, with the first already confirmed for October 12, with Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council’s 2019 Food & Drink Programme hosting a series of ‘Learn To’ workshops.

“Larchfield Estate’s new experience room, The Old Piggery, will be a great addition to the council area and will offer an exquisite, intimate event space within stunning surroundings for businesses and private groups both locally and further afield,” said Allan Ewart MBE, chairman of Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council’s Development Committee.

“The council is extremely proud to host the first official event in The Old Piggery. Tickets have just been released and are selling quickly so we would encourage people to make sure they secure their place as soon as possible so they don’t miss out on their chosen ‘Learn To’ workshop.”

The Old Piggery is just one of the event spaces within the estate that will host the various workshops and will offer attendees ‘hands-on’ and interactive experiences. Workshops on offer include Bread & Jam Making with Brambleberry Jams, Beekeeping with the Honorary Secretary of The Institute of NI Beekeepers Ken Baird and an Introduction to Fermentation with Dearbhla Reynolds of The Cultured Club.

Sarah Mackie said: “We see ourselves as custodians of the Estate, passing through and preserving the heritage of Larchfield for future generations and we are delighted to be able to add another event space to our ever-growing offering.

“It is very important to us that as many people as possible get to experience Larchfield Estate and we believe that investing in The Old Piggery as an additional event space, will encourage many more corporate and consumer groups to visit Larchfield Estate.

“We also want to thank the Lagan Rural Partnership Local Action Group for providing the Estate with a Rural Development Grant which has contributed to the successful development of The Old Piggery.”

Sarah and Gavin have successfully hosted weddings, functions, corporate events and group retreats for over a decade with profits enabling the couple to continually reinvest in exciting onsite projects. To date, since their ownership of the property began in 2007, the Mackie’s have invested over £1.5m into improving the estate and hope to continue investing to protect the heritage at Larchfield for many years to come.

Investment has included redecorating and restoring cottages to provide overnight accommodation for group stays, planting thousands of trees, developing their superb gardens and adding The Orangery as a new reception area to the Larchfield Barn.

The ‘Learn To’ workshops will run from 9am to 1pm on October 12 with various start and finish times.

For further information on the workshops and tickets, go to www.visitlisburncastlereagh.com.

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