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Historic Sites, Houses, Castles and Buildings

Not just Bricks and Mortar

Discover our wealth of historic sites and buildings, from our impressive Norman, Gaelic and Plantation castles to more recent stately houses and symbols of our industrial heritage. 

Castles to concert halls, our buildings are still making history.

Northern Ireland has some of the finest castles on this island. The earliest are a Norman legacy, but fortified homes continued well into the 17th century.

22596_Carrickfergus_CastleThrough centuries of war, siege and expansion, Carrickfergus Castle was Ireland's most formidable stronghold.  It still looks battle-ready today and is one of our most striking monuments, whether approached by land, sea or air. 

Other towering examples include Greencastle Royal Castle and Dundrum Castle on the strategically important south Down coastline, and Harry Avery's Castle, once a stronghold of the Gaelic O'Neills in County Tyrone. 

Definitely worth a visit is Enniskillen Castle, a former stronghold of the Maguire Chieftains, then a Plantation Castle and later a military barrcks - and now home to the fascinating Fermanagh County Museum and Inniskillings Museum.  For the ultimate cliffhanger, Dunluce Castle clings precariously above the north Atlantic.  Once the headquarters of the MacDonnell Clan, its magical setting is said to have inspired C.S. Lewis and was included in BBC Countryfile Magazine's top 10 romantic ruins in Britain.

Bellaghy BawnOur western counties have numerous 17th century, defended stone Planter homes.  These include Bellaghy Bawn, Benburb Castle, Castle Caulfield, and Fermanagh sites such as Tully Castle, Monea Castle and Castle Balfour


Derry Walls and St. Columb's CathedralMuch of Derry City dates from this era, including its encircling walls – completely intact and never breached –  and the impressive St. Columb's Cathedral, the first of its kind to be built after the Reformation.


Castle WardNorthern Ireland in the 18th and 19th and 20th centuries had contrasting ways of life.  From sumptuous manors epitomised by the likes of Ardress House, Springhill, Castle WardMount Stewart  Malone House, Hillsborough Castle, to humble cottages.  Seventeen US presidents have Ulster roots and many of their ancestral homes are preserved, including the Grant Ancestral Homestead in Tyrone.

The Ulster Folk & Transport Museum at Cultra, County Down has also collected and restored traditional farm and village buildings.  Armagh City is testament to Georgian elegance, and as Ireland's ecclesiastical capital, boasts two beautiful cathedrals, both dedicated to St. Patrick.

During the Victorian Period, this part of Ireland was at its peak as an industrial power.  Belfast in particular flaunted its wealth through splendid buildings, among them Belfast City Hall, built on profits from the gasworks, Queen's University and the adjoining Botanic Gardens, Malone House, Belfast Castle, the Albert Memorial Clock, and even the ornate Crown Liquor Saloon – perhaps the finest Victorian 'gin palace'' in these islands.

Just Some Ideas

Crom Estate, Newtownbutler, Enniskillen

Set on the shores of Upper Lough Erne in County Fermanagh, Crom is one of Ireland's most important nature conservation areas.

St Columb's Cathedral, Londonderry/Derry

Dominating the skyline on all approaches to the city of Londonderry is Saint Columb's Cathedral, which has stood on its prominent site inside the famous walls of Derry since 1633. Dedicated to the name of Saint Columba (Columb)

Parliament Buildings, Stormont, Belfast

Parliament Buildings is home to the Northern Ireland Assembly, the legislative body for Northern Ireland established under the Belfast Agreement 1998 (Good Friday Agreement).

Titanic’s Dock & Pump-House, Belfast

As the last place Titanic rested on dry land, the dock is Titanic’s physical ‘footprint’ in history. Learn about Belfast’s incredible maritime heritage and shipbuilding legacy and peer into the vast dock where Titanic was fitted out.

Kearney Village, Portaferry

Owned by the National Trust, it is a picturesque 18th century fishing village with scenic coastal walks. There is an abundance of wildlife to be seen. A small visitor centre is open from dawn to dusk, as are the public toilets and car park.

No 5 Vicars' Hill, Armagh

Built in 1772 as the Diocesan Registry to hold records for the Church of Ireland Diocese, this Grade A listed building has been restored and was formally opened to the public in March 2011. Fully accessible. Interactive displays for all ages.

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