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NIEA Castles and Towers

Northern Ireland’s history could almost be said to have been defined by many of the historic events that took place at our incredible castles and towers.

Steeped in centuries of history, myths and legends, these unique and impressive sites reveal surprising aspects of our past and how, at times, their architecture played a critical role in defining our past and our present.

From hidden gems to those that dominate the very landscape, our castles and towers have many tales to tell! Throughout the year the NIEA have many events at these locations, and please visit our Wonderful Days Out page for more information.

Places To Visit

Carrickfergus Castle, Carrickfergus

For more than 800 years, Carrickfergus Castle has been an imposing monument on the Northern Ireland landscape whether approached by land, sea or air. The castle now houses historical displays as well as cannons from the 17th to the 19th centuries.

Dunluce Castle: Medieval Irish Castle on the Antrim Coast, Bushmills

Dunluce Castle is located dramatically close to a headland that plunges straight into the sea, along the North Antrim coast.

Dundrum Castle, Dundrum, Newcastle

Believed to have been built in or around 1177, Dundrum Castle was built by John De Courcy as part of his coastal defence after he invaded Ulster. Dundrum Castle is located on a wooded hill north-west of Dundrum village near Newcastle.

Greencastle Royal Castle,

This royal castle, commanding the mouth of Carlingford Lough has an eventful history. It was built in the 13th century, taken by Edward Bruce in 1316, attacked at least twice by the Irish in the late 14th century and maintained as a garrison up to 1590.

Scrabo Tower and Country Park, Newtownards

Scrabo Country Park is centred at the top of Scrabo Hill near Newtownards and boasts incredible views over Strangford Lough and the surrounding countryside.

Castle Balfour, Lisnaskea, Enniskillen

Built in about 1618 by Sir James Balfour, a Scottish planter, the castle was in continuous occupation until the early 19th century. Open all year.

Monea Castle, Enniskillen

Built for Malcolm Hamilton and completed in 1618, it has a Scottish look about it, with corner turrets at one narrow end of a rectangular four-storey building and with two massive full-height round towers having angular tops guarding the entrance.

Tully Castle, Derrygonnelly, Enniskillen

This fortified house and bawn are set on Tully Point and were built for Sir John Hume who occupied the house until 1641 when it was attacked and burned on Christmas Eve by Rory Maguire and the inhabitants massacred. It was not lived in again.

Magilligan Martello Tower, Limavady

The Martello tower at Magilligan is a well known landmark, built between 1812 and 1817 during the Napoleonic Wars, to guard against possible French invasion.

Harry Avery's Castle, Newtownstewart, Omagh

Thought to have been built around 1320 by a local chieftain of the O’Neill clan, but named after Harry Avery (Henry Aimbreidh) O’Neill, a local chief who died in 1392, this structure is considered unusual in that Irish chieftain’s of the time ...

Kilclief Castle, Strangford, Downpatrick

Kilclief Castle was built between 1413 and 1441, reputedly by John Sely, bishop of Down. This makes it the earliest datable tower-house in County Down and is often used to date other tower-houses in the County.

Narrow Water Keep, Warrenpoint, Warrenpoint, Newry

These are the contact details for Narrow Water Castle which is located in Warrenpoint, County Down. The castle is not open to the public but occasional group visits can be organised by making an application in writing.

Portaferry Castle, Portaferry

Portaferry Castle is a 16th Century tower-house, built by the Savage family. It is located on the slope overlooking Portaferry harbour.

Newtownstewart Castle, Newtownstewart, Omagh

The power of the O’Neill chieftains in Tyrone came to an end in 1607. Defeated in battle by English forces and fearful for their future, Hugh O’Neill and his allies fled Ireland in what has become known as the Flight of the Earls.

Portora Castle, Enniskillen

Portora Castle guards a former crossing point where the river joins Lough Erne. Built in 1613 by Sir William Cole, it consisted of a 3 storey house across the breadth of the bawn which was defended by 4 circular towers.

Audley's Castle, Downpatrick

The castle dates probably from around the 15th century, but the early history is unknown. This site was used for filming a scene for Game of Thrones.

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