Will Brown to head new Castlewellan restaurant The Yard

L-R: Will Brown, Seamus Devlin, John McGrillen, and Marty O'Higgins at Hillyard House in Castlewellan. Picture by Kelvin Boyes.

CASTLEWELLAN’S Hillyard House has named award-winning chef Will Brown to head its new restaurant The Yard, unveiled as part of a £3 million investment.

The former Co Down guesthouse has created 37 jobs since it was relaunched as a boutique 20-bed accommodation venue last summer.

The project, now under the ownership of Martin O’Higgins and Seamus Devlin’s Forestpark Property Developments, has been backed by £300,000 from Invest NI.

The latest chapter in the regeneration scheme sees celebrated culinary pro Will Brown take over the kitchen for the 90-seater bar and restaurant.

The chef, whose portfolio includes Marco Pierre White’s Mirabelle in London, Gordon Ramsay's Maze and the double Michelin-starred The Square in Mayfair, was more recently known for the Old Schoolhouse in Comber.

Now a resident of Castlewellan, he said: “It is a truly beautiful place and Hillyard House provides the perfect platform for me to excel in my career. The restaurant is stunning and I am very lucky to have some of the best produce in Ireland right on our doorstep.”

Mr Brown will be supported by a team of twelve chefs and newly appointed general manager Suzanne Kidd.

The venue’s operational director, Mark O’Higgins, said: “The appointment allows us to fully open to the public with a bang, offering the best of local food for all the family complemented by the most beautiful surroundings to be found here.”

John McGrillen from Tourism NI described “Hillyard House as a fantastic new addition to the Mournes area.

“It is ideally located at the gates of Castlewellan Forest Park to meet the needs of the growing numbers of people visiting here to explore all of the activities that are available in the park and the wider Mournes area,” he said.

“High quality local food and drink is now a fundamental part of our tourism offer and it is great to see Will Brown join the team here as he will provide a culinary experience to match the fantastic produce and landscape from which it comes.”

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