The ancestral home of Chester Alan Arthur, the 21st United States of America is situated in the heart of Co. Antrim, only a short walk from the village of Cullybackey. The carefully restored thatched cottage transports visitors to a bygone era to see how the Arthur family lived in the late 18th century. Follow the story of the Arthur family and trace the link from a rural village in Northern Ireland to the American Presidency.
Arthur cottage provides and educational experience for all ages. Local ladies dressed in period costume give regular demonstrations of traditional cooking. Soda bread and pancakes made from traditional recipes are baked over an open fire providing and insight into life in Ireland over the last 200 years. Enjoy the demonstration, then sample the pancakes and soda break straight form the griddle.
For further info and to book a demonstration, contact the the Visitor Information Centre, The Braid, Ballymena Town Hall, Museum & Arts Centre, Ballymena, tel (+44) (0)28 2563 5900.
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Chester Alan Arthur's father, Rev. William Arthur, was a Baptist minister who lived at this 18th century cottage before emigrating to the USA a few years before his son's birth.
Chester was born in 1829, the eldest of nine children to William and his wife Malvina. When Chester was five, the family moved to Washington County where their son began his education.
Later at college in New York, he acquired a reputation as being able to "argue without losing his temper".
After college, Arthur practised law and was renowned for his support of equal rights for black people.
During the American Civil War Arthur rose to the rank of Brigadier General in the Union Army. After the War he resumed his legal career.
Republican Arthur was elected Vice-President to President Garfield in 1880 and became 21st President when Garfield was assassinated a year later.
His wife Nell had died ten months before he became President and his sister Mary acted as First Lady.
"Gentleman Boss" Arthur was famous for his sartorial elegance and interest in interior design; he didn't move into the White House until it was redecorated to his liking.
In 1886, a year after leaving office, Arthur died of a kidney disease he had kept secret throughout his political career.
His term as former President was the second shortest in American history.
- From Belfast, take the M2 to Ballymena then follow signs to Cullybackey. Drive through the town until you see the brown 'Arthur Cottage' sign. Turn right and drive up the narrow country lane until you reach the Cottage.