Thursday 21 September 2017

You can sleep in George's childhood bedroom - for £125 a night

The late George Best's house is available to rent – and his room is as it would have looked when he was 15
The late George Best's house is available to rent – and his room is as it would have looked when he was 15

Anna Maguire

IT'S far cry from the lakeland chalets of Fermanagh or self-catering cottages in the Glens of Antrim.

But an east-Belfast council estate is the setting for what could become one of Northern Ireland's prime attractions.

George Best's family home in the Cregagh estate will open tomorrow to the paying public as a self-catering holiday home.

The former council house on Burren Way -- where the soccer star grew up and his father, Dickie, lived until his death in 2008 -- was bought from the Best family's estate for £100,000 (€128,000) by Landmark East, a local not-for-profit property development company.

For £125 (€160) a night, people can stay in the five-room property surrounded by the trappings of the Best's family life -- including 50 family photographs restored by project partners, East Belfast Partnership.

George Best's bedroom has also been transformed into its state when the football legend was a 15-year-old Wolverhampton Wanderers' supporter.

The Best family has welcomed the initiative -- which will see all profits channelled into other regeneration projects in east Belfast.

'Profiteering'

Maurice Kinkead, Landmark East's chief executive, said: "We heard it was about to be sold a year ago and we didn't know what would happen to it. We did not want it to be bought for profiteering.

"It still retains the typical features. The decor is 1970s/1980s."

Earlier plans to convert the house into a museum dedicated to the late sporting superstar were shelved following concerns over sustainability.

George Best's sister, Barbara McNarry, and her husband, Norman, have been involved in the project for more than a year.

Norman said last night: "It's great that people from the UK and Ireland and further afield can now have the opportunity to stay in the house, sleep in the same room that George used to sleep in, and eat their meals in the same room that George used to."

Irish Independent

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