Belfast & Northern Ireland

Ballance House

Not only does NI boast strong links with US Presidents, but it is also the birthplace of two New Zealand Prime Ministers.

William Ferguson Massey (b. 1856) came from Limavady but, with the house now demolished, only a small plaque and bronze statue serve as a reminder of his origins.

Which leaves Ballance House - the proud flag bearer of our antipodean links.

This restored whitewashed farmhouse marks the birthplace of John Ballance (b. 1839), New Zealand Prime Minister from 1891-1893 and founder of the world's first welfare state.

Ballance first moved from Belfast to Birmingham, then eventually to New Zealand where he hoped the milder climate would help his ailing first wife.

Ballance was a Liberal and champion of Maori issues. No doubt spurred by second wife Ellen (his first wife died aged 24), he was also a leading advocate of women's rights.

In fact, inspired by Ballance's stance, and shortly after his death, New Zealand became the first country to give women the vote.

Ballance was the first PM to die in office, and his statue stands in Wellington's Parliament grounds.

Following its restoration in the late '90s, Ballance House became the base for the Honorary Consulate for New Zealand in Northern Ireland and The Ulster New Zealand Trust.

Inside there are exhibits on Ballance's life and career, Maori culture and the Irish-New Zealand connection.

The adjoining cottage (where Ballance was born) has a display of photographs, and visitors can also watch an introductory video on Ballance's life and the building's restoration.

A second converted building, the Tea Barn, serves hot drinks and sells a small selection of snacks and souvenirs. During the year the Trust also runs several Craft Fairs and Events.
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Amenities

Guarded parking
Conference facilities

Website

Open

April-Sept, Sun 14:00 - 17:00.

Price/Additional Info

Adult £3, child 50p, family (2+2) £7. Events extra admission.

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