Birth of Finn Valley Cottages

In 2010 I was struggling to make the small farm viable. I had worked in England until 2000 and was very keen to return home to Ireland – a decision that I have never regretted.

The farm had been a traditional small mixed farm. In my childhood, we had a few dairy cows, beef suckler cattle, laying hens, pigs and sheep. It was typical of the many small farms throughout Ireland. The barn that has become Finn Valley Cottages was redundant as it no longer was suitable for modern farming methods as it was inaccessible to machinery.

Finn Valley

The old barn was fast becoming dilapidated with the roof falling in at the lower end and people starting to vandalise it. I had to make the decision – to demolish or develop and I’m more of a developer than a demolisher! So I developed the site!

Finn Valley Cottages

My ambition was 3-fold – to tidy up the site, to make the farm viable and to set up a business for my retirement. Under a Rural development program farm diversification scheme I applied for planning permission. 2 years later, having jumped through many bureaucratic hoops, I eventually obtained planning permission.

In 2012 I started with two cottages. I had been very keen to retain the features of the original barn hence the external appearance and the set of barn steps in the same position as the steps where I had off run up following my father to the barn door. The French doors are where the old doors were. The upstairs windows remind me of the loft doors through which, as a child, I had pushed bales of hay and straw out to my father who lifted them into the hay racks to feed the cattle. The sitting room of Foyle 100 years ago was the stable for the working horses and Finn was the byre for the cows at milking time.

As the business developed I added a games room located where are the sheep dip pens had been. Many a day I have got soaking wet as I walked through the sheep which were being dipped to protect them from flies and maggots. Dipping involved putting sheep into and through a large bath of water so that their fleece gets penetrated with sheep dip fluid. The workmen had waterproof leggings but no such thing existed for children. I was very keen on all aspects of farming and as a child had been very happy “to help” with outdoor jobs at every possible opportunity.

The final addition was Strule Cottage set up to meet the demand for guests with reduced mobility but who wish to maintain their independence. I had imagined the greatest demand coming from older people but how wrong I was. There is a strong demand from young people through most unfortunate circumstances require facilities which can easily cope with a wheelchair.

It was officially opened by Arlene Foster who is now First Minister in Northern Ireland, but in those days was Minister for Tourism. Ironically, as it was an agricultural diversification project, Mrs Foster was to be accompanied by the Minister of Agriculture Michelle O’Neill who is now deputy First Minister. And so Finn Valley Cottages became established!

Visit Derry

Dominating the North-western landscapes of Ireland, astride the flowing waters of the Foyle, is a 6th Century city that today resonates to the sounds of the 21st Century.

Among the happiest of those sounds is the multi-lingual chatter of more international visitors than ever – from conference delegates and backpackers to cruise passengers and tourists of all kinds – who are discovering the delights of a compact city which is unlike any other.

Having been placed by Lonely Planet as the fourth best city to visit in 2013 by a panel of travel experts and awarded the first ever UK city of Culture for 2013 Derry is most certainly the place to be! Londonderry, Derry, Doire or even ‘Legenderry’ as it has been recently renamed, is a centre of culture and creativity.This vibrant destination offers a unique combination of rich heritage and a buzzing social scene – Derry was named as ‘Friendliest Destination in Northern Ireland’ so you will be guaranteed the warmest of welcomes! Over the past few years the city has unveiled to all-comers the creative vibrancy and generosity of spirit that has always been apparent to those who knew her best. It’s a city famous for its confident modern outlook as it is for the timeless quality of its craic. Derry was named as runner up in the prestigious ‘Restaurant Association of Ireland’s 2015 ‘Foodie Town Awards’ so you can be sure to enjoy the very best of locally sourced produce including ‘from pier to plate’ seafood caught locally in neighboring Co. Donegal. Derry was named the “Best Halloween Destination in the World” by the readers of USA Today newspaper beating off stiff competition from Salem, Massachuttes and even Dracula’s home town of Transylvania!

Long an undiscovered gem, Derry~Londonderry stands today in the midst of a compelling transformation. It is a city emerging from a long and colourful history to showcase its brilliance to the world, like a butterfly emerging from a chrysalis of conflict. Here in our City you can expect many a smile of greeting from people who are noted worldwide for their friendly hospitality. Meander through the bustling streets of the only completely Walled City in Ireland and the British Isles and listen to the echoes of 1450 years of history. Stroll along its 17th century walls which are over 400 years old, and marvel at the ever-changing skyline of a city which is constant only in the warmth of its welcome.

Stroll across the gleaming new Peace Bridge which curves majestically across the River Foyle leading to the spectacular new development at Ebrington. Gateway to Ireland’s Northwest, our city is pulsing with life, resonant with centuries of heritage and passion, yet fresh as an Atlantic breeze. This is a joyful regional centre filled with celebration and inspiration, as manifested in the number and quality of our festivals and special events throughout the year.