Historic restaurant Clenaghans set to close

One of our area’s oldest restaurants, Clenaghans near Aghalee, is set to close.


Owners, The Downing Family, issued a statement this morning revealing plans to close the restaurant in September.

In a statement, the family said: “It is with deep regret that we inform you Clenaghans Restaurant will close after Saturday 5 September 2015 until further notice.

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“Please contact us via email if you have any queries regarding existing bookings or gift vouchers. Our accommodation will continue to operate as normal.

“A huge thanks to all of our customers who have supported us over the past 20 years.

“We would also like to take time to thank our loyal team of staff both past and present. These lovely people have made our time as owners of Clenaghans a joy and we are privileged to have been able to meet & work with such a great group of people,” said the Downing Family.

Records show that a business has been in operation at Clenaghan’s for more than 250 years.

And indeed few restaurants could compare with its unique history and charm.

On the Clenaghan’s website it is revealed: “Until recent times this establishment was known as ‘Winnies’ after Winnie Clenaghan. Her mother was Kate Clenaghan (nee Lavery). She was a first cousin of Sir John Lavery, one of our most distinguished Irish artists and he was reared on this farm as a young boy.

“From these humble beginnings he rose to become one of the greatest artists of his age.

“He was honoured by nearly every city in Europe & received the Freedom of Belfast in 1930.

“In his day he painted the Royal Family, including Queen Victoria, for the National Portrait Gallery. He was also elected President of the Royal Ulster Academy of Arts.

“In 1918 with his great friend Winston Churchill, Lavery witnessed and painted the surrender of the German fleet, disguised as a naval officer.

“Sir John Laverys wife Hazel Lavery featured in many of his works, most notably her images on the Irish punt note.

“Throughout his career Sir John kept in contact with his cousins here in Soldierstown and we are delighted in honouring his memory by displaying copies of his paintings and other memorabilia in Clenaghans Restaurant.”

For more information visit www.clenaghans.com