Carrickfergus Castle is a Norman castle situated in the town of Carrickfergus. Besieged in turn by the Scots, Irish, English and French, the castle played an important military role until 1928 and remains one of the best-preserved medieval structures in Ireland.
For more than 800 years, Carrickfergus Castle has been an imposing monument on the Northern Ireland landscape whether approached by land, sea or air. The castle now houses historical displays as well as cannons from the 17th to the 19th centuries.
Carrickfergus was built by John de Courcy in 1177, as his headquarters, after he conquered eastern Ulster and he ruled as a ´petty king´ until 1204, when he was ousted by another Norman adventurer, Hugh de Lacy. Initially de Courcy built the inner ward, a small bailey at the end of the promontory with a high polygonal curtain wall and east gate. It had several buildings, including the great hall. From its strategic position on a rocky promontory, originally almost surrounded by sea, the castle commanded Carrickfergus Bay (later known as Belfast Lough), and the land approaches into the walled town that developed beneath its shadow.
There is limited disabled access for wheelchair users. All children must be accompanied by an adult. No dogs allowed except guide dogs and assistance dogs.
A visit will give you the opportunity to see the exciting Great Tower roof replacement project. A new information centre will take you through the journey of the Roof Project and construction works and you can view a real truss-like the ones used for the new roof!. You will also have the opportunity to see the newly opened costume room, winch room and chapel.
Carrickfergus´ local museum is the best place to visit to discover more about the long and distinguished history of the town and surrounding area, with artefacts of treasure excavated in Carrickfergus. There are multi-media and audio-visual presentations.
Material from the Council’s own civic collection, together with Carrickfergus related material on loan from both private and national collections are on display. There are several ‘hands-on’ interactive facilities giving fun as well as an informative angle to the displays. The separate ‘community archive’ features local and social history material, relating to the Borough’s recent past. The archive also gives visitors the opportunity to add their own informative stories, photographs, documents and newspapers to the collection.