Castlederg Village: A Great Travel Experience in Northern Ireland

Castlederg village

Updated On: April 19, 2024 by   Marwa Abdel MoniemMarwa Abdel Moniem

Sometimes, we need to go off the beaten track to explore new destinations that would make our travel experience more unique and memorable. Castlederg Village in Northern Ireland is a perfect example in this sense. And so, it is the path we are leading in this article to bring you all the information you need to know before you go to Castlederg Village.

Why Castleberg Village? Well, there is history, geography, activities, and landmarks that all promise an unforgettable trip to an iconic place in Northern Ireland. Besides the facts about the place, this article will also answer all your queries as to what to do in Castlederg Village, how to get there and where to stay during your visit. So, read on for a detailed review of this lesser-known area of Northern Ireland.

 The History of Castlederg Village

A castle on the river Derg —that is Castlederg Village! The story of the castle dates back to the 15th century. It was built in 1497 as a tower house, whose first known owner was Red Hugh O’Donnell. The castle was then in the hands of Hugh O’Neill’s family. The two families exchanged lordship of the castle over the years.    

But those two families later joined hands in a historic show of deep loyalty to their country in the face of a large Spanish fleet that, in 1601, occupied the Irish harbour of Kinsale, which is about a five-hour drive from Castleberg Village. O’Neill and O’Donnell shared this committedness to ridding Ireland of the invaders. 

They were defeated, though, and Sir John Davies, an English commissioner, was granted 2,000 acres of land between Castlederg and Drumquin. The English commissioner built a 30-metre-long defensive wall in Castlederg with square towers at each corner. To control the passage between Donegal and Tyrone, he erected this castle on the north side of the river Derg, where O’Donnell’s tower house once stood.

However, this post-medieval fortification was severely damaged after the Irish uprising against the Ulster Plantation in 1641. Now, Castlederg Village features the ruins of this castle from the Plantation era. The ruins of the castle include a rectangular bawn and some flanking towers.

In the 17th century, a house was constructed, extending the bawn for some metres in the north direction. The castle is adjacent to two ancient tombs in Castlederg Village: Druid’s Altar and Todd’s Den.

The remaining parts of the original O’Donnell tower house with its thatched roof, which dates back to the 15th century, were unearthed in 1991. Human bones were also found outside the north entrance, which dates back to the early 17th century. 

In 1883, a tramway was established to link Castlederg Village with Victoria Bridge. A railway station was inaugurated in Castlederg Village in July 1884 and was finally closed in April 1933. 

The Geographical Makeup of Castlederg Village

On the edge of Northern Ireland stands Castlederg, a small rural town in County Tyrone on the River Derg. It is also near the border with County Donegal —only seven miles away from the market town of Castlefinn. 

For a long time, Castlederg served as a stop for travellers along the ancient pilgrimage route between Lough Foyle and Lough Derg. The River Derg originates from Lough Derg in County Donegal and flows into County Tyrone, where Castlederg is located. 

The Weather in Castlederg Village

Welcome to one of the hottest spots in the whole of the UK. Yes, the temperature in Castlederg Village could exceed a high of 31 degrees Celsius in summer. In winter, the lowest temperature is recorded, reaching a chilling -18 degrees Celsius.

How to Enjoy Your Visit to Castlederg Village? 

Castlederg is considered a busy market town and an important agricultural area. However, this small town has many other aspects that you could find interesting to explore and would really make your trip one of a kind. Here is a list of social events that are organised in Castlederg Village!

Attend the Derg Vintage Rally

Car geeks will surely love this rally, which showcases all classic tractors and machinery. The event is hosted every year by the Derg Village Vintage Club. Stationary engines and stalls are likely to be displayed in such rallies, which also include a dog show, much to the entertainment of your children.

Attend the Dergfest Music Festival

This homegrown music festival, which started in Castlederg Village in 2015, caters to all the whims of music lovers who get their chance to dance to the beats of Irish country music and classic rock. The music festival in Castlederg is the best event to sing your heart out!

Attend the Apple Fair

Now, this is a tradition that has been going on in the Northern Irish village for over a hundred years. On the social calendar, the Apple Fair is held on the last Friday of October each year, with apple growers from County Armagh bringing their wares all the way from Victoria Bridge to Castlederg on the once-operational tram. A replica of the tram is now set on the spot that would have been the final stop of the journey.

Visit Mitchell Park 

If you are on a visit to Castlederg Village with your family, you can enjoy a day out with the little ones at Mitchell Park. The park features several soccer pitches, fields and a small play area. This is the perfect place for a picnic, a walk and training. Dogs are also allowed into the park. So you can unleash your dog to chase after the ball! 

Visit Derg Castle & Park

Derg Castle should be on top of your to-visit list in Castlederg Village. After all, this is the castle after which the village is named. Though not much of Derg Castle’s architectural details are preserved, it shows pretty well from the north bank of the river Derg. Entrance is free and so you would feel —free — when visiting this rural castle. 

The fortification is part of the Castle Park, where visitors get firsthand information about the remains of the castle. 

Visit the Castlederg Library 

The library in Castlederg Village is a must-visit if you are a good reader. A pretty good collection of books is available and guaranteed to fulfil the passion of all readers. It also provides free access to e-books, multimedia materials and periodicals. You will surely quench your thirst for knowledge at the Castlederg Library. 

Visit the Castlederg War Memorial

This is a memorial tablet that commemorates the residents of Castlederg Village who were killed in World War I and World War II. Initially, the memorial only cited the names of victims of World War I. Later, the names of those who died or went missing in World War II were added. 

Castlederg Village on the Screen

Castlederg Village was brought to the screen only in a series that was part of a programme shedding light on lesser-known areas in Northern Ireland. Dubbed Once Upon a Place, the episode about Castlederg Village shows moving images of this rarely visited small town in Northern Ireland from over 126 years ago.

How to Reach Castlederg Village?

There is no direct bus from Northern Ireland to Castlederg Village. But a car drive to the small town is considered the cheapest and fastest way. A car drive from Northern Ireland to Castlederg Village could take up to an hour and a half.  

Another option is for you to take the bus from Belfast to Castlederg Village. The journey from Belfast Europa Bus Centre to Castlederg is estimated to take about three and a half hours with transfers. 

Where to Stay in Castlederg Village?

Having arrived in Castlederg Village, you need not worry about accommodation. We have you covered here as well. We have searched for the best places to stay during your visit to this small town. 

Based on reviews, we highly recommend that you book with Derg Valley Apartments, The Derg Arms, or Ardgort Country House.   

One Visit Would Make a Big Difference

Thinking of visiting a place that is not highlighted on the travel map is undoubtedly outside the box. But let’s agree that hitting new roads is part of the fun of a travel experience that would hopefully make a big difference. There is also something to learn about every new place we visit. After all, we will never know until we have actually been there! So, don’t forget to tell us about your different travel plans and experiences.  

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