As Allied vessels gathered in Belfast Lough ahead of D-Day, parts of Northern Ireland underwent significant changes. These included the repurposing of much of the Royal Hotel, Bangor, Co. Down.
The first Royal Hotel stood on the site from 1773 before being rebuilt in 1932 by the O’Hara family. The O’Hara’s remained in charge until the Donegan family took over in the 1990s.
During World War Two, the rooftop became a naval signal station and the Royal Navy commandeered the top 2 floors until 1942. Then the US Navy arrived in Bangor, Co. Down and also set up their base at the Royal Hotel.
From there, the US Navy commanded an ever growing fleet in Belfast Lough. In advance of the Normandy Invasion of 6th June 1944, battleships and cruisers gathered off the Co. Down coastline.
As of 2018, plans were in place to preserve the Royal Hotel, Bangor, turning the old building into luxury apartments.