Carrickfergus Castle, County Antrim

Carrickfergus Castle, County Antrim

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Visit one of Northern Ireland’s most striking monuments whether you approach it from land, sea, or air. This Norman castle is situated in the town of Carrickfergus in County Antrim in Northern Ireland, on the northern shore of Belfast Lough. With over 800 years of history behind it, today it is under the care of the NIEA (Northern Ireland Environment Agency) and is open to the public fora fun day out in a unique setting, or to those wishing to learn more about its history.

Carrickfergus Castle was built on a rock promontory by John de Courcy, conqueror of east Ulster, in 1177 to serve as his base and guard the entrance to Belfast. In 1210 King John captured the castle and it henceforth was a base of British rule in Ulster. Besieged in turn by the Scots, Irish, English and French, the castle played an important military role until 1928 as it was strategically useful, with three quarters of the castle perimeter surrounded by water. After it became a prison in 1797, the Carrickfergus Castle was further strengthened and served as a magazine and armory for a century. During the First World War, it was used as a garrison and ordnance store and during the Second World War as an air raid shelter.

Carrickfergus Castle remains one of the best preserved medieval structures in Ireland that can’t be missed when visiting the County of Antrim. The banqueting hall has been fully restored and there are many exhibits to show what life was like in medieval times. It was built and re-built three times, and still stands today.

For visitors of the castle there is an audio-visual presentation available. Wheelchair access is limited.

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