The Manor House
The large Georgian house which dominates Rathlin’s harbour was built in the 1870s for the Gage family, who bought the island in 1746 from Lord Antrim for £1,750. The main house also incorporated work-rooms for weavers built in the 1760s and some former cottages. The Gages also built the island’s walled garden (it is said that the soil for it was shipped from Scotland), corn mill, a boat-house and kelp store.
The last member of the family to live at the Manor House was Brigadier Rex Gage, CBE, MC, who died in 1973. It lay derelict for a while before it was taken over by the National Trust and then re-opened in 1998 as a 12-room hotel.
A Rathlin countess
One of the more remarkable members of the Gages was Dorothea. On a visit to Baden Baden in 1864, she attracted the attention of Prince Albrecht of Warbeck and Pyrmonte. He pursued her to Rathlin and they married in Dublin Castle the same year. She was made Countess von Roden in 1867 and died in Germany in 1883 at the age of 48.