Step Back in Time With the Old Station House Gallery and B & B

Originally servicing the Carndonagh Line from “Londonderry Graving Dock” in Northern Ireland to the town of Carndonagh in north Inishowen, Donegal, the Station House at Drumfries was established in July of 1901 by the Londonderry and Lough Swilly Railway Company. The establishment of the line was the culmination of over 20 years of campaigning from local businessmen, landowners and clergy men and its construction—as well as subsequent employment opportunities—provided a much-needed influx of commerce for the inhabitants of Inishowen at that time.

Visitors from Derry City flocked to the beaches of beautiful Inishowen, while new and easier travel opportunities opened to locals for the first time in the history of the quiet peninsula. For 30 years or so, the railway service offered a wealth of employment opportunities to locals and blow-ins alike, from station-masters and linesmen to porters and parcel clerks. Many of those who had travelled from further afield to work even settled and raised families in the peninsula.

By the late 1920s, Londonderry and Lough Swilly Railway Company had expanded their reach into road traffic, investing in a fleet of buses across Donegal. The profitability of this venture, as well as the freight vehicles that followed, led to reductions in their rail services and eventual closure of lines. On the 2nd of December 1935 the Carndonagh Line ceased service for passengers and goods alike. By 1953 the company had divested itself of all railway services entirely.

In 1961 local Inishowen farmer Francis Breslin purchased the old station house at Drumfries and converted it into a small bar with living quarters for his family upstairs. For the first few years of operations the bar was technically unnamed though known informally by its patrons as “The Station House”. Around 1963 when Francis built the first extension, the bar was officially given its name “The North Pole” and from there went from strength to strength as a vital meeting place for the locals of Drumfries and the surrounding townlands.

In 2016 new life was breathed into the Station House when Francis’s daughter Hilda and her husband Liam—the current proprietors of The North Pole Bar—converted the extension into a modern bed and breakfast with a gallery dedicated to the history of the railway line. Now visitors to the bar can capture a small glimpse of an oft-forgotten part of local history—when the Carndonagh railway line opened up the world to the people of Inishowen.


Relax and Unwind

Relax and let go in the modern indulgence of one of our three newly renovated en suite bedrooms. While the bar and lounge next door are home to the laughter and friendship that make the rural Irish pub a world-famous institution, the Old Station House extension is all about the soothing indulgence of modern hospitality.

With free wifi and a HD flat-screen television in every room—and the sumptuous embrace of fresh, silky linen tucked lovingly around brand-new premium mattresses—you can leave your worries behind and let go of the outside world as you melt into the comfort of your own private getaway.

Coffee and tea making apparatus are provided in room, as well as toiletries, towels and face cloths, while ironing material is available on request. With all this on offer you might never want to leave!

Find out more about the comforts that await you


Dinner and Drinks at the Bar

Is there anywhere else on earth that compares to the traditional rural Irish pub? The jokes and laughter, the camaraderie of meeting friends and soon-to-be-friends over a few pints of plain, or shooting pool against the backdrop of glasses clinking and voices laughing. There’s a reason the Irish Pub is famous the world over—and why The North Pole Bar is famous in Inishowen. Because there’s no better place to spend an evening of warm laughter and rewarding conversation with friends and strangers alike.

Whether you’re settling in by the fire in the cosy snug of the front bar or shooting pool or darts in the main lounge, you’ll be sure to make it a night to remember in The North Pole Bar. And if you’re lucky you just might arrive in time for one of our traditional music sessions, like the Inishowen Singers who play here regularly.

Our country kitchen serves delicious, freshly-cooked food every evening—with choices for everyone from the hearty steak lover to the careful vegan looking for something as tasty as it is pure—and with the relaxing privacy of our newly-renovated bedrooms in the Station House extension next door, and the fun and excitement of The North Pole Bar downstairs, you’re guaranteed to have an incredible experience—whether your stay lasts a week or only for a night.

Take a closer look at the bar and dining options


Plan your own Adventure

Home to Ireland’s most northern point at the wind-swept cliffs of Malin Head, and the final destination on the Wild Atlantic Way scenic tour, the peninsula of Inishowen is a uniquely idyllic and invigorating holiday destination.

With its breath-taking mountains, long, sandy beaches and wild, secluded rivers, you’ll find the perfect activity to suit your taste—whether it’s a relaxing day out on the links, or grabbing your surf board and running head on into the fresh Atlantic waves. From hiking to the top of a heady peak and beholding the breath-taking views, to angling for salmon in a quiet secluded brook—or even simply basking in the sun on a long, golden stretch of beach while the world around you passes by—you’ll be sure to find the adventure that’s just right for you.

And, with the bustling shopping districts of Derry City and Letterkenny nearby, as well as a whole range of unique craft shops and villages around the peninsula, you’ll have so much to do that you might have trouble fitting it all in!

Discover more of your Inishowen Adventure

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