Renamed: The Corner House
2 Main Street,
Moneymore is a typical Plantation town.
It owes its existence and development to the London Drapers’ Company, which completed a distinguished group of buildings in 1819, including a market house, a coach arch, a dispensary and the subject of this piece, a hotel.
Today that hotel is still called the Draper’s Arms, and is a listed building with a fine Georgian front, including pillars, wrought iron railings and original boot scraper!
The building was begun in 1818 and its materials included timber from the local forest at Spring hill.
Construction was suspended at one stage, when funds ran low, but fortunately the work was resumed and finished late the following year.
The hotel became a public house in the early 1930s, and was in the same owner’s hands for almost 50 years. The present owner, Trevor Ditty, is a darts fanatic, an official with the Northern Ireland Darts Organisation, and his pub has been transformed into the finest darts venue of international standard and standing in the North.
Most pubs which have a dart room have a small corner somewhere with a dart board on the wall, but the Draper’s Arms seems to have darts rooms everywhere, and these are not poor excuses for the real thing.
Each is set out for the deadly serious business of playing darts, and each has four boards and proper darts alleys.
Darts is first here, and drink incidental.
Jocky Wilson, former World Champion, officially opened one of the purpose-made rooms, and exhibitions are staged by guest celebrities such as John Lowe and Alan Glazier.
There’s a display case full of trophies in the lovely big public bar, and behind the counter pennants from some of the countries which the owner has visited in his darts quest – Wales, New Zealand, Denmark, Australia, Finland, Norway, Scotland and England.
The Draper’s Arms is among the very select number listed in The Good Darts Pub Guide, but it supports other activities as well.
The figures are these: 3 dart teams, 2 snooker teams, 2 pool teams.
There’s another room with a full-size table, and a pool table too, of course.
With all these games going on all around, we’d better not forget to mention that the Draper’s Arms is also a very good pub, and the 1989 Bushmills County Derry Bar of the Year.
Next door used to be the courtroom, and there was an adjoining door into the judge’s private room in the hotel.
This is now part of the upstairs function room.
It’s very effectively furnished with an unusual decor of plain varnished bright light wood against matt black.
How well does it look?
You’ll be the judge.