EXQUISITE WEDDING VENUE, RESTAURANT & BAR
We’ve a great reputation for exquisite weddings, relaxed restaurant dining, luxury accommodation that offers every comfort to our guests. enjoy outdoor seating and dining from our terraced area which offers breath-taking views during the warmer seasons. Indoors we have the beautiful Kates room, Boardroom and Bar area to relax in whilst our dining rooms include the Violet Room and Scarlet Room in addition to our main restaurant. Two open fires can be found to relax by, one in the bar area and the other in Kates Room. This room has plush seating along with the original sash windows to add to the charm and beauty of this period home. Come, relax and unwind for predinner drinks or simply to catch up with friends.
A LITTLE PIECE OF HISTORY
Looking back at origins of this little country house on the shores of Lough Swilly, it has seen a lot of changes since it was built in the 18th century. Formally St. John’s Restaurant Originally called St. John’s, the first part of the country house was built in 1789. This includes the cellar, Kate’s Room, and bedrooms Le Noir and Le Damask. The original sliding sash windows are still in Kate’s Room.
The bar area (built 100 years later in 1889) was formerly an outbuilding for storing turf and logs and some of the original flag stones still pave the floor. Ownership over the past two centuries has included some well-known names including the owners of Watts Distillery in Derry, the Stewart-Libertys and musician Phil Coulter. Nell Stewart-Liberty is the former publisher of Social & Personal magazine. She now lives in Château Soussac in Bordeaux, France. Nell’s parents and grandparents owned St. John’s before selling it to Phil Coulter and she lived here until she was 25.
The late Reggie Ryan and his wife Phil bought the house from Phil Coulter in 1979 and opened it as a restaurant in 1980. Modern renovations involved the addition of two more bedrooms, Le Salon and Le Boudoir as well as the three interconnecting dining rooms, The Scarlet Room, The Violet Room and The Willow Room. Some of The Red Door team who also worked in St. John’s recall how The Boardroom was a laundry room back in the day. (It’s a little more luxurious today!)
The Londonderry and Lough Swilly Railway passed along the water in front of St. John’s from the mid 1800’s to the mid 1900’s. (Fahan Railway Station is now The Railway Tavern.) The engineers made sure to locate the track where it would not interfere with St. Mura’s Holy Well. The original Holy Well is located in the grounds neighbouring the country house. To cater for the volumes of pilgrims flocking to the well in the 1800’s, the landowner diverted the well into the grounds of St. John’s, creating a second St. Mura’s Holy Well. This well is situated at the bottom of The Red Door’s walled garden.
THE RED DOOR
The current owners bought the building when the Ryans retired and opened it for business under the name of ‘The Red Door Country House’ on 13th February 2009. Today The Red Door is an award-winning restaurant and accommodation provider as well as an exclusive wedding venue, defined by its attention to detail and personal service. The traditional open fires in the bar and Kate’s Room enhance the homely atmosphere and these areas provide a perfect meeting place for guests before and after their meals. Some of the awards that have been collected of recent years are: Best Guest Accommodation in Ireland at the AA Ireland hospitality awards; Best Country House experience at the YesChef awards; Best Restaurant Wedding Venue at the WeddingsOnline.ie awards, and Best Restaurant Wedding Venue at the Mrs2be.ie Bride’s Choice awards.