1849: Land acquired by John Finlay (a rich flax merchant) for building.
1850: Abbeydene House (then Lismara House) was built by the celebrated architect, Charles Lanyon, for the Finlay family.
1860: John Finlay died and Abbeydene sold to another flax merchant,James Hind.
1885: James Hind went bust and was forced to sell Abbeydene. The new buyer was Herbert Lanyon, the son of Charles Lanyon (1813 – 1889).
1890: Herbert Lanyon died and Abbeydene sold to Edward Robinson (one half of Robinson & Cleaver – a very famous Belfast department store).
1915: Abbeydene was sold to Sir Crawford McCullagh (proprietor of a ladies outfitters and the “Classic” Cinema in Castle Lane,Belfast).He was also the Lord Mayor of Belfast for three terms and knighted in 1918. He was the instigator of the five minute silence of remembrance in 1916 – commemorated with a blue plaque in 2016.
1945: (24th August) Sir Crawford entertains Dwight D. Eisenhower for lunch at Abbeydene after presenting him with the Freedom of the City. A photo can be seen of the party on the front steps of Abbeydene.
Some famous guests that stayed at Abbeydene House include Field Marshal Montgomery and Lord Edward Carson.
1948: Sir Crawford died (along with the Lismara name) and newly renamed Abbeydene House became an old peoples home – the House was the administration block and a dormitory block attached to the House.
1994: Fraser Homes Ltd acquired Abbeydene House and built forty-four luxury homes on it’s grounds. They surgically removed the dormitory block and totally reinstated Abbeydene – adding a third floor. Abbeydene House is a Grade B listed building.
1996: Abbeydene leased to F.G.Wilsons (now Caterpillar) for five years.
2003: Abbeydene bought by Tim and Ethy Clifford.
2008: Abbeydene House Bed and Breakfast was started.
2011: Abbeydene House Bed and Breakfast was awarded Four Stars by the Tourist Board…wow!
2016 :On July 5. Abbeydene House gets a Blue Plaque from the Ulster History Circle to honour Sir Crawford McCullagh for his instigation of the silence of remembrance a hundred years ago in 1916. This thoughtful gesture has been reduced to one minute silence over the years – but it is astounding that it was started here in Abbeydene House.
SIR CRAWFORD McCULLAGH
As Lord Mayor of Belfast, first called for a
‛Silence of Remembrance’ July I9I6