Mayor gets a taste of the past

Mayor of Mid & East Antrim Cllr Billy Ashe who visited Arthur Cottage in Cullybackey on Thursday  pictured here with tour guide Jenny Carleton. INBT 04-101JC
Mayor of Mid & East Antrim Cllr Billy Ashe who visited Arthur Cottage in Cullybackey on Thursday pictured here with tour guide Jenny Carleton. INBT 04-101JC

The Mayor of Mid & East Antrim got a real taste of the past on Thursday when he visited historic Arthur Cottage in Cullybackey.

Councillor Billy Ashe tried out tasty soda farls hot off the griddle when he called at the pretty cottage at Dreen Road to encourage visits by organised groups in the coming weeks.

Mayor of Mid & East Antrim Cllr Billy Ashe who visited Arthur Cottage in Cullybackey is seen here with tour guide Jenny Carleton. INBT 04-103JC

Mayor of Mid & East Antrim Cllr Billy Ashe who visited Arthur Cottage in Cullybackey is seen here with tour guide Jenny Carleton. INBT 04-103JC

Bakers Julie Templeton and Marion Gregg put on an outstanding home baking demonstration, cooking over a traditional turf fire, for the special visitor to the carefully restored ancestral home of Chester Alan Arthur, the 21st President of the United States.

A Republican, Chester Alan Arthur served as US President from 1881 to 1885. His grandparents, Alan Arthur (born 1761) and Eliza Arthur (née Meharg) lived in Cullybackey at Arthur Cottage. Their son, William (the President’s father) was born on the 5 December 1797 in the Cottage and emigrated, with other members of the family, to North America between 1816 and 1820.

Speaking after his visit, Councillor Ashe pointed out: “Regular baking demonstrations take place during the summer season and are also organised at any time of the year for schools or different group bookings.

“All such groups can be accommodated at any time and individual visitors, both domestic and international, can come to see the cottage for themselves once the season opens again.

Marian Gregg and Julie Templeton who baked bread for their special guest at Arthur Cottage, Cullybackey,  Mayor of Mid & East Antrim Cllr Billy Ashe. INBT 04-102JC

Marian Gregg and Julie Templeton who baked bread for their special guest at Arthur Cottage, Cullybackey, Mayor of Mid & East Antrim Cllr Billy Ashe. INBT 04-102JC

“While Arthur Cottage certainly provides an educational experience, the regular baking demonstrations over the open turf fire add a very ‘tasteful’ element,” he said.

Visitors who call at the premises just outside the village are transported to a bygone era as they can see how the Arthur family lived in the late 18th Century.

They can follow the story of the Arthur family and trace the link from rural Cullybackey to the American Presidency.

Baking demonstrations by ladies dressed in period costume currently take place by arrangement and also on selected days when fully opened for the season where visitors can enjoy the soda bread and pancakes during their tour.

Anyone who would to find out more about Arthur Cottage including group bookings can do so via email to the Tourist Information Office at tic.reception@midandeastantrim.gov.uk or phone 028 2563 5077.