Carrickfergus Castle Aglow in Sunlight

Written by
Reflection of Carrickfergus Castle in the ebbing waters of Belfast Lough under a stormy sky. Reflection of Carrickfergus Castle in the ebbing waters of Belfast Lough under a stormy sky.

Carrickfergus Castle was begun by John de Courcy in 1177.

De Courcy was an Anglo-Norman knight who came to Ireland at the behest of Dermot MacMurrough, King of Leinster, who sought the English King Henry II's help in becoming King of Ireland.

With no inheritance in England due, no lands and title - de Courcy set off from the southeast of Ireland to the north, and effectively defeated any opposition in County Down and County Antrim. Thus begins a turbulent millennium of English involvement in Ireland.

Carrickfergus, in the east of Antrim just north of Belfast, became the centre of his small state established without permission of Henry - until he was dispossessed of it by Richard I who was also known as Richard the Lionheart. It seemed that he had somehow offended the new King of England.

So the castle passed into the hands of Hugh de Lacy, another Anglo-Norman, who was created Earl of Ulster by King John. De Lacy expanded the castle before it was finished around 1250 under Henry III.

Carrickfergus is referenced in a famous song recorded by almost everyone from the Clancy Brothers, Dubliners, Van Morrison, Joan Baez to Charlotte Church and is referenced even by Ed Sheeran.

The great Irish actor Peter O'Toole who coincidentally played Henry II in the 1964 film Becket was also a fan, having been involved in the modern rewrite of the song.

Reflection of the castle in the ebbing waters of Belfast Lough under a stormy sky.

A previous post here on referenced the naval skirmish between John Paul Jones's USS Ranger and HMS Drake just offshore from Carrickfergus.

Join Panoramic Ireland to explore Ireland, to photograph scenes like this and learn how to make better images.

Carrickfergus Castle aglow in sunlight under a cloudy sky
Carrickfergus Castle catching sunlight on the edge of Belfast Lough, County Antrim
Last modified on Tuesday, 01 September 2020 14:02
Darren McLoughlin

Irishman and International travel photographer in search of the best bits of Ireland. Leading photography tours and experiences in Ireland.

Contributor to New York Times / Sunday Times / Irish Times / Echtra Echtra and Eonmusic

Cancer survivor.

Ask me about travel in Ireland or about photography in Ireland.

Leave a comment

Contact Us
1000 characters left
Cookies make it easier for us to provide you with our services. With the usage of our services you permit us to use cookies.