“I wish I was in Carrickfergus”
Says the lyrics of an irish folk song. I am singing this from time to time since my visit in Carrickfergus because I already know I wish to return there. Town has an interesting story about its name. Long story short: the legendary scottish king, Fergus the Great, was sailing home to Ulster when his ship ran aground on a rock by the shore. The rock was known as “Carraig-Fergus” and the town is now known as Carrickferus. But it’s the castle that I want to tell you about.
The view from the castle on Carrickfergus town:
Well preserved military base
The castle was built in 1177 by Johm de Courcy and is an Anglo-Norman military construction serrounded by the sea on three sides. It used to be very important target for everyone that wanted to take over in Ireland. It was sieged from the local Gaels, the Scots, English kings and the French. At some point it became a military prison to also be an air raid shelter during the Second World War.
Inside the castle’s keep:
Outside – wards and The Sea Tower:
One of the remaining cannons. Originally there was 22 of them:
The Sea Tower:
People of Carrickfergus Castle
King John – the only king that ever stayed in castle. Visiting Carrickfergus was part of his expedition to Ireland in 1210. Here is king John in the one of the latrin chambers in the west wall of the keep:
The Lady Affreca – daughter of Godred, king of the Isle of Man. She married John de Courcy in about 1180:
Gilber the Master Gunner holding a linstock carved into a shape of a crocodile:
Cuthbert – the crossbowman:
If you haven’t have enought after visiting the castle, there is more to discover in Carricfergus. You can take self-guided walking tour that covers entire long and interesting history of the town. It takes you to Civic Centre, Town Hall, Carrickfergus Museum, Town Walls, St. Nicolas Church, Flame! Gaswork Museum and also historic harbour (including King William statue and King William pier). Enjoy!