Welcome to Laurel Cottage

I'm Tim Johnston from Laurel Cottage Ltd., a small family run publishing company which publishes books under the imprints Cottage Publications and Ballyhay Books.

Based at our 250 year old cottage near the pretty seaside town of Donaghadee, we have been publishing books since 1990, which I must admit at times seems only yesterday - a sure sign of impending old age according to my daughters!

The business was started by my wife Alison. She is (in my humble and utterly unbiased opinion) an excellent artist who in 1989, while working for a local community project, produced a series of paintings of Donaghadee. The original plan was for a local publisher to publish the paintings in some form of book but in the event Alison could not find anyone who would take it on.

Having completed quite a lot of background research for the project, Alison and I felt that a book would be financially viable so, not being one to be easily put off, Alison descided to publish the book herself and thus Cottage Publications was born with the publication in 1990 of 'Donaghadee, an Illustrated History and Companion'

In our terms 'Donaghadee' was quite a success and thus when Alison decided to undertake a similar project in 1991 featuring Bangor, a nearby town, larger than Donaghadee, she felt it was going to be too much to take on herself. In an act of either brave, calculated risk or utter foolhardiness depending on your view (most people familiar with our situation went for the second) Alison and I decided to pin our future hopes on Cottage Publications and I left my secure employment to join her full time in the business.

The rest is, as they say, history. Despite a few setbacks due to illness and an initial total lack of knowledge of the publishing industry, we survived and by 2002 the business had grown to the point where it became necessary to change from a partnership to a Limited Company (Laurel Cottage Ltd) with Alison and myself as directors.

At this time we took the opportunity to establish a new imprint name Ballyhay Books under which we publish a range of more general books allowing the Cottage Publications brand to continue with its range of high quality full colour books about local places and subjects of Irish, and now English, interest.

We still run the business from our home at Laurel Cottage in the townland of Ballyhay (guess where we get our business naming inspiration from?) ably assisted by Carolyn who majors on the design of the books.

Although we plan to grow significantly over the next few years we will remain a small, friendly family style operation while offering both excellent products and service to all our customers in Ireland and throughout the world.