Date 16 April 2020

Immediate Release

Coastguard Boat House on Belfast Lough - First in Ireland to join #MyTravelPledge

The only Coastguard Boat House on Belfast Lough, you can stay and sleep in, has become the first in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland to join a growing international movement entitled #MyTravelPledge.

The grassroot movement, promoted by Ian Rutter and Andrew Watson, owners of Casa Higueras, joined by Nick Leese and Richard Keyser, who have a self-catering property Casa Rosario, has reached out from Andalucia, Spain to a growing number of Bed & Breakfast and self-catering accommodation providers across the world who are all pledging to offer free short-breaks to NHS hospital workers once the Coronavirus campaign subsides.

The Coastguard Boat House on Belfast Lough has pledged two free VIP weekend stays for a couple or for a family as a way of saying thank you for their work at this difficult time.  The Boat House, which is located in Whiteabbey, and dates back to the period of the United Irishman’s revolution in the 1890s, is located a metre from the sea, and offers visitors a special stay.  The Boat House has a variety of heritage features, with village pubs and shops nearby, and for people who want to see Belfast’s key attractions, is less than ten minutes by car, bus or train.

Following a feature in the National Press the #MyTravelPledge movement has blossomed with Ian (one of the founders) getting over 1000 nominations from across the world.  The Boat House is the first to become involved in Ireland (North and South) but owner Carol Magill is hoping more providers will make a pledge.

As Carol explains: “This is an opportunity for small B & Bs and self catering providers, many of which, own very unique properties to say thank you to those people who are working tirelessly across the NHS (including care homes.) Small providers don’t have big budget for grand gestures and many are struggling at this time, but I know each of us will still want to express our gratitude by offering great stays for free, or when that isn’t possible at a reduced price.  NHS staff can nominate themselves for a stay, or can be nominated by some one via the website where they will be matched up with providers.

“It is also a chance to remind the wider population, that when this is over, small tourism operators many of which, like myself, own and maintain unique heritage buildings, which are part and parcel of what makes NI a great place,  need visitors to holiday with them.  Our towns and villages need tourists, and if you cannot travel far away, book at local stay and holiday at home.

“On a personal level it has also been great to link up with other small tourism accommodation providers from across the world, and know that we are all facing a difficult time but are working together to do what we can to get the tourism sector back on track – post virus.”

People interested in staying at the Coastguard Boat House can contact the owner on 07768775550; book directly via or via holiday lettings or Tripadvisor.



Pledges from travel providers can be found here:

The focus of the campaign is:

  • Give something for healthcare workers to look forward to, and boost morale, at this hugely difficult time;
  • Give property owners some hope that their tourism businesses might have a future when travel restrictions are lifted;
  • Invite travellers to start visiting/travelling again once the crisis abates.

Terms and conditions, the Coastguard Boat House is offering two 2 day free stays to NHS staff ( a stay for a couple and for a family of four (at least one adult plus children under 12.) People can self-nominate or be nominated.  Nominated staff will be required to offer proof of their employment with NHS.  Dates will only be confirmed once the government allows holiday accommodation to open again. Dates available are (subject to restrictions being lifted)  from 1 November 2020 – 14 December ; and 10 January – 8 February 2021.  All guests are required to pay a security deposit of £250 which will be refunded in full if no damage is done to the Boat House. In the event of the nomination process being oversubscribed an independent random draw will be held on the day lock down is lifted !


Follow the campaign on:





Media enquiries ref Boat House to Mobile 07768775550

  • Less than a metre from the sea
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