Heritage

A House Rich in History – Ardtara Country House

Ardtara Country House Hotel in Derry is a charming and substantial 19th century house, located in the little village of Upperlands in South Londonderry. Ardtara was built as a family home by Harry Jackson Clark during the reign of Queen Victoria and now accommodates visitors in the comfort and style of a bygone era – with all the modern conveniences.

In 1888, at the age of 18, Harry ran away, determined to seek his fortune in America or the colonies. But his father caught up with him in Liverpool and made a deal – he could go to America, but as a salesman for Upperlands linen. His trip was a brilliant success. Apart from booking hundreds of orders, he visited an Indian chief and went bear-hunting in Quebec, collected a bad debt in Chicago and inveigled his way into a White House reception where he shook hands with President Cleveland. Throughout his life, he retained a fierce affection for God’s country, as he called the United States. His older brother Alexander, meanwhile, became a formidable expert on the Irish and English trade and the technical side of the beetling process. Harry, by contrast, was fascinated by water power and steam power – which he persuaded his cautious family to harness. He was one of two brothers responsible for keeping the family fortunes afloat in the face of competition from cotton and other cheaper materials. Evidence of some of the objects collected on his travels can still be seen on the entrance hall with the two busts and a dinner gong brought back from the New World. William Clark & Sons is still operating in Upperlands.

See more about Henry Jackson Clarke at harryjacksonclark.com.

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