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Carrickfergus Castle: An 800-Year Journey Through History
For over eight centuries, Carrickfergus Castle has stood as a proud sentinel on the Northern Irish landscape, accessible by land, sea, or air. This magnificent Norman castle, one of Ireland's best-preserved medieval structures, served as a crucial military stronghold until 1928.

Carrickfergus Castle's Three Lives:

The imposing fortress, built in stages, witnessed history unfold through multiple sieges by the French, Irish, Scots, and English. Founded in 1177 by Anglo-Norman knight John de Courcy, it served as his headquarters after conquering eastern Ulster. He ruled as a minor king until 1204, when another Norman adventurer, Hugh de Lacy, took over.

From Battles to Shelters:

Carrickfergus Castle's resilience continued through centuries. In 1760, it surrendered to French troops led by Francois Thurot after a fierce battle, showcasing its strategic importance. World War I saw it transformed into an armory and garrison, while World War II repurposed it as an air-raid shelter.

Preserved for the Future:

Today, Carrickfergus Castle stands tall, six of its original cannons still guarding the seaward walls. After transitioning from British military use, it's now managed by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency and open to the public. Explore historical exhibits, soak in stunning views, and even trace the footsteps of Game of Thrones characters who filmed here.

Beyond the Castle Walls:

Carrickfergus Castle is a captivating starting point for further exploration. The daily Game of Thrones tour from Belfast makes this its first stop before venturing to the iconic Giants Causeway and Dunluce Castle. Immerse yourself in the rich history and natural beauty surrounding this remarkable landmark.


The Drums of Button Cap: Ghosts and Legends of Carrickfergus Castle

Carrickfergus Castle, steeped in centuries of war and intrigue, naturally attracts whispers of haunting. The most famous resident is "Button Cap," a young soldier wrongly hanged for murder. Legend says his mournful drumming echoes near the well, and visitors report chills and unexplained noises. Another tale speaks of a young boy seen in photographs, adding to the castle's eerie charm. While sceptics abound, the persistent stories and chilling atmosphere fuel the imagination, making Carrickfergus a magnet for ghost hunters and anyone seeking a touch of the paranormal. Remember, even if the spirits are non-existent, the historical echoes of the castle offer their own eerie allure


Carrickfergus Castle FAQs:

What is the Admission Fees for Carrickfergus Castle:Adult: £6
Child/Senior/Student/Benefit Claimant: £4
Under 4: Free

What is the Opening Hours for Carrickfergus Castle: Easter to September: 9:30am - 4:30pm (last admission)
October to Easter: 9:00am - 4:00pm (last admission 3:30pm)

Opening Hours: The castle operates on different schedules depending on the season. Be sure to check the official website or their social media pages for the most up-to-date information before your visit.
Admission Fees: Tickets can be purchased at the Visitor Information Centre located within the castle grounds. Children under 4 enter for free, and discounted rates are available for specific groups. Consider purchasing tickets online if planning your visit during peak season.


Exploration Time for Carrickfergus Castle: 1-2 hours, depending on interest and guided tour participation.

Exploration Time: Allow 1-2 hours for a self-guided tour, depending on your interest level and whether you wish to explore the exhibits in detail. You can spend additional time enjoying the scenery or picnicking on the grounds. Guided tours typically last around an hour and provide informative insights into the castle's history and architecture.


Is there Parking at Carrickfergus Castle?: Available nearby (free).

Parking: While there is no on-site parking at the castle, various paid public car parks are available within walking distance. Check online maps or inquire at the Visitor Information Centre for specific locations and fees.


Are there any Guided Tours around Carrickfergus Castle: Yes, offered at additional cost, check website for the schedule.

Guided Tours: Guided tours offer a deeper understanding of the castle's history and its architectural significance. They are conducted at specific times throughout the day and require the purchase of additional tickets. You can find the tour schedule and book tickets online in advance.


Is Carrickfergus Castle accessible for Wheelchairs: Limited wheelchair access, inquire for details.

Accessibility: While the castle grounds are generally accessible, the historic nature of the building presents some limitations for wheelchair users. Certain areas within the castle might not be easily accessible due to steps and uneven floors. Contact the castle directly for detailed information and inquire about available assistance before your visit.

Closed today
  • Monday


  • Tuesday

    9:00 am - 3:30 pm

  • Wednesday

    9:00 am - 3:30 pm

  • Thursday

    9:00 am - 3:30 pm

  • Friday

    9:00 am - 3:30 pm

  • Saturday

    9:00 am - 3:30 pm

  • Sunday

    9:00 am - 3:30 am

  • May 27, 2024 5:20 am local time

  • Carrickfergus Castle, Marine Highway, Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland BT38 8AE, United Kingdom

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