Explore Northern Ireland’s Historic Castles

December 23, 2013

Posted by
Jane

When it comes to castles in Northern Ireland – we have some of the finest on the island! The earliest are from Norman times, but fortified homes continued to be built well into the 17th century – much of Derry-Londonderry City dates from this era, including its encircling walls. Centuries of war, siege and expansion, have left a well-preserved legacy which is still there to be explored! Make 2014 the year that you discover some of our historic places & spaces. Here’s a selection of some our finest Castles:

 

Dunluce Castle

Dunluce Castle is located dramatically close to a headland that plunges straight into the sea, along the stunning North Antrim coast. There is archaeological evidence of a village that surrounded the castle which was destroyed by fire in 1641. Take the scenic route to the castle along the coastal road – and you’re sure to be in for a day of breathtaking views & historic sights!

 

Tully Castle

Why not head off the beaten track and discover the beauty of Tully Castle just outside Enniskillen in Co. Fermanagh. This fortified house and bawn are set on Tully Point and were built for Sir John Hume who occupied the house until 1641. There is a recreated 17th Century style garden for visitors to enjoy. A visitor’s centre, located in a restored farmhouse, houses an exhibition telling local stories relating to the castle. Don’t forget your camera…this is a picture perfect location!

 

Carrickfergus Castle

For more than 800 years, Carrickfergus Castle has been an imposing monument on the Northern Ireland landscape whether it is approached by land, sea or air. Originally built in 1177 by John de Courcy this Norman castle has been altered throughout the centuries and has been in use as a garrisoned property until as late as 1928. The castle now houses historical and other displays as well as cannons from the 17th Century to the 19th Century. You’ll find the castle  situated in the beautiful coastal town of Carrickfergus in Co. Antrim, on the northern shore of Belfast Lough

 

Castle Ward

Castle Ward is full of personality. Situated in a stunning location overlooking Strangford Lough, the lawns rise up to the unique 18th century house and its Gothic façade. This fascinating house features both Gothic and Classical styles of architectural treatment, internally and externally. Inside the beautiful 820 acre walled demesne you will find an exotic sunken garden and paths that wind their way through woodland and suddenly open onto the quiet shores of the Lough.

 

Belfast Castle

Not only does Belfast Castle offer breathtaking views over the city, visitors can enjoy wonderful walks, spot some wild life or stop off at the adventure playground. Why not spend the day exploring the glorious mix of parkland & woodland, afterwords pop into the Castle for some cosy refreshments!

 

Dungiven Castle

Ever wondered what it’s like to be king for a day…why not spoil yourself in 2013 with an overnight break in Dungiven Castle. Ideally located between the Giants Causeway, a world heritage site, and the famous Walled City of Derry. This 4*15th Century Castle is set in 22 acres of beautiful landscaped gardens & offers the perfect  country escape!

 

Hill of O’Neill

A visit to the Hill of O’Neill is a must in 2014. The recently developed site is now open to the public after 400 years. From the thirteenth century until modern times, this highland rampart above the town of Dungannon has been one of the most strategically important sites in the history of Ireland. Stronghold of the famous O’Neill dynasty its view of all nine counties of Ulster enabled its occupants to command the surrounding area. Visitors can enjoy the majestic views – the only site in Northern Ireland where you can view the nine counties of Ulster & discover the history behind this important space.

There’s plenty more historic castles & sites to explore in Northern Ireland – find out more about our castles here: discovernorthernireland.com/castles/

Why not treat yourself to an early getaway in Northern Ireland – we’ve some fantastic special offers & even one or two castles to stay in; Belle Isle & Crom Castle offer excellent Castle breaks  – plan your NI getaway  here: discovernorthernireland.com/offers/

 

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