Carrickfergus Castle - County Antrim - Northern Ireland

carrickfergus castle - county antrimCarrickfergus Castle is a Norman castle situated in the town of Carrickfergus in County Antrim.

From its highly strategic position on a rocky promontory, formerly almost surrounded by sea, the castle commands Belfast Lough, and the land which approaches the walled town that developed 'under its wing'.

The castle played an important military role until 1928 and over the centuries has seen a great deal of military action at various times having been besieged by the Scots, Irish, English and the French.  Building was first begun on the castle by John de Courcy, the conqueror of Ulster some time between the years 1180 AD and 1204 AD and over some 800 years it has been further added to and strengthened having even been used as a prison in the 18th century.  Today, this imposing castle which is surely one of the best preserved mediaeval structures in the whole of Ireland is maintained by the Environment and Heritage Service.

One of the ghosts which is said to haunt the castle today is known as 'Buttoncap', a young soldier who was alive towards the end of the 16th century.  It is generally thought that he must have met a violent death although the means by which he died are uncertain.  Some folks say that the poor young man was unfairly and wrongly accused of an officer's murder in the castle and that he was executed there.  Another story still told is that he fell madly in love with the wife of another man and that he was murdered in an act of revenge by the man whom he had wronged.