Seaforde is a small village located on the main route between Belfast and the seaside resort of Newcastle. Most people tend to drive on through, but since I was little, I have always been intrigued by the place, enchanted by the pretty houses that greet you as you drive by. So on a recent weekend outing to Newcastle for a wedding reception, I finally decided to stop and satisfy my curiosity. I parked the car and set off to explore on foot.
Right next to where I had parked was this lovely ivy covered house, complete with sash windows and a garden overflowing with flowers..the front gate almost hidden by the greenery.
I walked along the leave strewn path and then across the main road to have a closer look at my main reason for stopping…this row of pretty houses.
I discovered that these houses are Almshouses – built in 1828 by Colonel Forde (whose family the village is named after) and intended to house six elderly people and the village courthouse. An Almshouse is charitable housing provided to enable people (typically elderly people who can no longer work to earn enough to pay rent) to live in a particular community.
By 1970 the Almshouses at Seaforde were mostly uninhabited and the Forde family sold the property to the Hearth Housing Association who restored the terrace. As each Almshouse was so tiny, a pair of houses was combined to form one present house and an extension added to the rear of each.
I walked a little further past the Almshouses and this Georgian house came into view. Set back from the road, a cheerful red door just visible behind the hydrangeas…
I crossed back over the road to walk up the main street where a dry stone wall runs parallel to it, marking where Seaforde Demesne begins. This is the estate of the Forde family and home to the Seaforde Tropical Butterfly House (which we visited back in July)
Then I circled back , stopping to take a final glance at this house before reaching the car and setting back off on our journey to the seaside.
All in all, a very picturesque village well worth stopping at, just to wander around, take in the views and learn a little of the local history. There is a lovely cafe on the main street where you pop in for a coffee.
You can also find out more about almshouses here