A brand new motorway service area opened on Northern Ireland's M1, now available on both sides of the road.
Catering: The Bakewell (south-westbound only), Burger King Drive Thru, Chopstix Noodle Bar, Subway, Greggs, Lavazza Shops: Off Licence Main Amenities: Indoor & Outdoor Play Area, Picnic Area, Showers, Tourist Information Hotel: none Forecourt: Applegreen
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Trivia and Design
The opening of this service area has given Applegreen a monopoly on motorway service areas between Belfast and Dublin.
In planning this one was referred to as 'M1 services', which can be confused with a petrol station on the A4 that pre-dated Northern Irish motorway services. Some sources (incorrectly) call this service area Ballyskeagh.
The design is very similar to what Applegreen have been using in the Republic of Ireland, especially on the northbound side. The southbound side also has a second-storey coffee lounge making it very similar to its sister site at Templepatrick. The biggest difference is from the outside: the Northern Irish services have much less green space, as they are laid out by businesses rather than the state.
The plans for a service area here actually date back to 1994. Trusthouse Forte applied for planning permission to build on this site at Hillhall Farm, but permission was refused following objections from local residents. Forte said they would be appealing, and they stressed that the site would be well-landscaped, making it different to what they called "the concrete monstrosities" in England.
Forte had wanted to use the service area to launch their Little Chef and Travelodge chains in Northern Ireland. At the time, all Forte motorway sites were branded 'Welcome Break', but they didn't name that brand here. It may be that it was simply missed off the list, or it may be that it was only a small site and Forte didn't want to introduce too many new brands in one go.
Forte specifically said their intention was to capitalise on the increase in tourism that would follow the 1994 ceasefire. It's therefore possible that the resumption in hostilities in 1996 is the reason that the project wasn't pursued. More likely is that all new ventures were put on hold when Forte tried to sell their roadside brands in 1995.
Conoco Ltd carried the project forward and received planning permission in 1999. This was renewed in 2011.
In November 2018 Applegreen purchased a significant stake of Welcome Break. One of the trade-offs of the purchase was that suitable Applegreen sites would be managed, rebranded and refurbished by Welcome Break, which would allow the combined firm to manage its assets better and give Welcome Break a clear benefit to the takeover. Lisburn was later listed as one of their "suitable sites".
As of 2020, no rebranding has happened, but minor internal changes have been noticed. For example, during the COVID-19 pandemic, diners at Lisburn services were asked to record their visit on Welcome Break's website.
|Templepatrick (M2 north-westbound, 15 miles)||Services on the M1 (Northern Ireland)||Cohannon (30 miles)|
Castlebellingham (51 miles)
Barbican (A1 northbound, 15 miles)
Dublin Road (A1, 37 miles)
|Templepatrick (M2 north-westbound, 15 miles)||Applegreen services||Castlebellingham (51 miles)|
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