Carrickfergus Castle was built by the Anglo-Norman John de Courcy over 800 years ago and has long been the centre of a power struggle for those wanting to control the important port.
Due to the military impenetrability of this castle the town of Carrickfergus long thrived even when surrounding villages suffered defeats.
Besieged by the Scots, English, Irish and French at various points throughout its history, it has racked up over 750 years of continuous military occupation until 1928, when it was transferred from the War Department to the Ministry of Finance for preservation as an ancient monument. However its days of action were not over. During World War II, it was used as an air raid shelter.
Carrickfergus castle now houses historical displays as well as cannons from the 17th to the 19th centuries and visitors are encouraged to explore the castle’s large halls and dark corners – there are ramparts, dungeons and even winding staircases with trip steps to deter any invaders.
Inside you’ll find a wealth of informative boards to help you pick up the facts and figures, plus audio visual displays and life sized models of significant historic figures to help snag the kids’ attention. The education is done with fair seriousness but it’s deliberately accessible for most intellects including older kids.
Special events and traditional crafts demonstrations are run throughout the year and posted in advance, so keep an eye out for things which would suit your group and add some extra fun to your day!
Plus there’s the terrific Marine Gardens Adventure play area just down the road at BT38 7DN, with a wealth of terrific equipment suited to a range of ages. All you need is a bit of sunshine, or at least the absence of rain!
Visitor facilities at Carrickfergus Castle
Visitor centre, Guided tours – (advance booking recommended), Audio-visual theatre, Hire facilities, Gift shop, Educational packages, Special events and Interpretative models.
Adult – £5.50, Child (age 4 – 17) – £3.50
Senior Citizen – £3.50
Student and Benefit Claimants (ID required) – £3.50
Child under 4 – Free
Family (up to 5 members) – £15.00
Group rate(10 plus, must be pre-booked) – £4 per person
Northern Ireland Environment Agency