Antrim Castle

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Antrim Castle
Antrim Castle is located in Northern Ireland
Antrim Castle
General information
Type Castle
Location Antrim, County Antrim, Northern Ireland
Coordinates 54°43′19″N 6°13′51″W / 54.72194°N 6.23083°W / 54.72194; -6.23083Coordinates: 54°43′19″N 6°13′51″W / 54.72194°N 6.23083°W / 54.72194; -6.23083
Construction started 1610
Completed 1666

Antrim Castle or Massereene Castle was a castle in Antrim, Northern Ireland. It was erected in stages between 1610 and 1666.[1] It was destroyed in 1922 and finally demolished in the 1970s.


The remaining Italian tower (1887).

According to the Illustrated Dublin Journal of 1861, the castle was built by Sir John Clotworthy, later created Viscount Massereene.[2] It was through his daughter and heiress, Mary, and her marriage to Sir John Skeffington, 4th Baronet (by special remainder he would become the 2nd Viscount Massereene), that the estate and title came to the latter family.[3] A parterre supplied the castle with herbs for cooking and medicinal uses and its long canal was divided into two sections by a limestone cascade.[1]

The castle was raided by Jacobite General Richard Hamilton and his men who looted Viscount Massereene's silver plate and other silverware and furniture up to a value of £3000, a considerable loss at the time.[2][4] For sometime the castle was used for political conferences; in 1906 Right Hon. John Foster, the last Speaker of the Irish House was reported to have spoken in the Oak Room of the castle at a meeting.[5] During a grand ball on 28 October 1922, the castle caught fire and was destroyed.[1][6] Although much of the evidence pointed to arson by the IRA, the official verdict was not conclusive, thus no insurance claim was paid out. The castle remained as a ruin until its demolition in 1970.[7] The only evidence of the castle is a slightly raised grassed platform as well as a freestanding Italian tower which was built in 1887 and a gatehouse.[7]

The gardens are a popular tourist attraction, open yearly, located on the Randalstown Road, Antrim, County Antrim, Northern Ireland.

Reputed hauntings[edit]

Left:Barbican gate. Right:Castle gardens.

One servant, a young local named Ethel Gilligan, although rescued from the flames, later died as a result of her injuries.[8] Her ghost has been seen walking in Castle Gardens, and amidst the ruins of the castle before its demolition. The locals refer to her as the 'White Lady'. Antrim has its very own paranormal research group called C.A.P.R.A. (County Antrim Paranormal Research Association). Founded in 2007, they are a voluntary group set up to investigate alleged paranormal activity.[9] They are also members of the I.P.A (Irish Paranormal Alliance).


  1. ^ a b c "Antrim Castle Gardens". Discover Northern Ireland. Retrieved 29 May 2011. 
  2. ^ a b William Curry, Jun. & Co (1861). The Dublin University magazine. William Curry, Jun., and Co. p. 168. Retrieved 29 May 2011. 
  3. ^ The Illustrated Dublin Journal, Volume 1, Number 14, December 7, 1861
  4. ^ O'Laverty, James (1884). An historical account of the diocese of Down and Connor, ancient and modern. p. 264. Retrieved 29 May 2011. 
  5. ^ Adam and Charles Black (Firm) (1906). Black's guide to Ireland. A. and C. Black. Retrieved 29 May 2011. 
  6. ^ "A walk in Antrim Castle Grounds". Antrim Town. Retrieved 29 May 2011. 
  7. ^ a b "Antrim Castle". Retrieved 29 May 2011. 
  8. ^ "Antrim Castle spooky visit". Discover Ireland. Retrieved 29 May 2011. 
  9. ^ "County Antrim Paranormal Research AssociationFact is only fact once proven". CAPRA. Retrieved 29 May 2011. 

External links[edit]