Discover Carrickfergus Castle: The Strongman

Carrickfergus Castle

Updated On: November 07, 2023 by   Ciaran ConnollyCiaran Connolly

On the shores of Belfast Lough, lies one of the most unique monuments of Northern Ireland. Carrickfergus Castle, also known as The Strongman, ages more than 800 years old. Carrickfergus Castle is an inseparable part of the greater Irish heritage and an important destination for all history and culture addicts. It is believed that the castle is an ideal model of the Norman architecture style.

Apart from the fact that Carrickfergus Castle is at the top of the list of Ireland castles, it’s one of the exceptional architectural monuments in Europe. Moreover, it’s also surrounded a wide variety of Carrickfergus hotels.

In addition, the castle is considered one of the most vital military fortresses in the Irish history. It is now an outstanding sight and destination for all tourists and Irish citizens, under the supervision of the Historic Environment Division of the Department for Communities.

Historical Background

The Carrickfergus Castle was built on many stages throughout the years The Castle was firstly built in 1177 by Sir John de Courcy. He was a Norman knight who arrived in Ireland in 1176 and constructed the castle as his headquarters.

First, it appeared as de Courcy’s average sized stronghold, it was only a small bailey and an inner ward. Then, de Courcy was ousted by another Norman knight, Hugh de Lacy, who continued the constuctions of the Castle. De Lacy built the gatehouse, outerward, and the drumtower.

Later, in 1210, the Carrickfergus Castle fell under the ownership of King John of England. He took control of the castle and developed many construction improvements. He built a protective curtain wall and transformed it into a military fortress.

Hence, the castle was considered a military base for the next 7 centuries. It encountered numerous wars and battles that occurred in Ireland and Europe. Furthermore, its ownership was shifted from the British government to the Government of Northern Ireland in 1928. Due to its significant military preparations, it was used as garrison and weapon storage during the First and Second World War.

The Normans

The exciting sight of Carrickfergus Castle is a sample of a greater theme of buildings called the Norman architecture. The Normans are an ethnic group that originally came from a region in France called Normandy.

Moreover, they invaded numerous regions in Europe, and among which was the Northern Ireland region. As mentioned above, John de Courcy arrived with the Normans and settled in Carrickfergus town. He constructed his headquarters that later led to the establishment of the Carrickfergus Castle.

Moreover, the Norman architecture quite close to the Roman architecture. They were known for their rounded arches, high ceilings, and massive hallways. They had a profound impact on the Irish culture and history that they built many castles and cathedrals in Ireland.

The Carrickfergus Castle

The Carrickfergus Castle is a complete example of a medieval structure and the Norman architectural style. It was initially built while it was surrounded by a 3/4 of water. However, now, it is surrounded by only one-third of its diameter by water, due to land reclamation.

Moreover, the exotic Norman castle, Carrickfergus Castle, has an Eastern tower accompanied by the remnants of the of a curtain wall. It is believed that the Eastern tower was the place of a Chapel. An interesting fact that appeared in the video, that the Carrickfergus Castle owns its own water well.

Due to the historical battles, the soldiers at sometimes were locked in the castle, so they dug a water well to meet their needs of water.  Also, there’s an exciting display of canons from the 19th and the early 20th centuries. The castle is also allowed for rent for events such as wedding ceremonies. It opens its doors every day from 9 am till 5 pm, for 5.50 Euros per adult.

Carrickfergus Hotels and Town

It is believed that Northern Ireland is the happiest place in the United Kingdom, hence, some argue that Carrickfergus is the happiest place in Northern Ireland. The Carrickfergus town being interconnected with the Carrickfergus Castle makes it an exceptional and culturally rich town. Carrickfergus, commonly know as “Carrick”, is one of the oldest towns in County Antrim and Ireland. Commonly known as Carrick, Carrickfergus occupies around 11 miles of the Belfast Lough’s shores.

In our modern times, a wide variety of Carrickfergus hotels and places for accommodation were established. Moreover, Carrickfergus hotels are mostly known for their common Norman and Irish architecture theme. Dunadry, Culloden Estate, Peartree Hill, Rayanne House, and Clandeboye Lodge are all unique spots in Carrickfergus that you will enjoy your stay in.

And for those who get excited about nightlife, there is an antique pub, Vlissinghe, that ages more than 500 years old.

Nearby Spots

As mentioned above, even though the Carrickfergus Castle is an amusing destination, there are other close spots in County Antrim that would be interesting to visit. Dunluce Castle in Bushmills, that sits on the mountains and shores of Causeway Coast, which is an old volcanic fissure eruption.

Also, a recently refurbished hotel, Dunadry Hotel, in County Antrim that you will feel amused by its exotic and cultural details. Another fascinating experience, the Knockagh Monument, that sits on a hill where you can see Carrickfergus and other towns from.

To sum up, the Carrickfergus castle won’t be your only joyful experience, Carrickfergus town is also constructed upon its past heritage and rich with its Norman and Irish culture.

Visiting the Carrickfergus Castle would be a perfect opportunity to experience the living conditions of the medieval period. The castle opens its gates everyday allotting this until evening, with affordable entrance fees, which make it a perfect choice to spend somebody family time.

So, explore this majestic location with its long history and exciting exploration opportunities, but also don’t forget to come back here and let us know how your experience went. We’d love to hear from you and find out more about this castle and its surroundings from its visitors. Enjoy your trip with your friends and family in this beautiful Irish castle.

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