Antrim Castle 104

Antrim, Northern Ireland

Brief Description

Antrim Castle was built in phases from 1610 to 1662, remodelled in the early-19th century and destroyed by fire in 1922. Its ruins were demolished in 1970. The grounds were laid out at the beginning of the 18th century in the baroque style. Features include formal canals with clipped lime and hornbeam hedges, a round pond in a wooded wilderness, the mediaeval castle motte remodelled as a mount with a spiral yew walk, and the Deer Park Bridge. A large parterre has been laid out in recent years, and further conservation work is in progress.

History

The original castle was Anglo-Norman. Its motte survives in use as a mount with a spiral walk. The later house was built in the 17th century, and was complete in 1662. It was remodelled in the early-19th century, burnt in 1922 and its remains demolished in 1970. The former stable block is now the Clotworthy Arts Centre.The present gardens were laid out in the first decade of the 18th century. The former deer park was planted with clumps in the early-19th century. Much of the site has been built over, including the former kitchen garden and terrace garden.

Visitor Facilities

The grounds are open weekdays 9.30 am to 9.30 pm, Saturday 10.00 am to 5.00 pm, Sunday 2.00 pm to 5.00 pm.

Detailed Description

In its present form the garden represents the survival of the early-18th-century layout, minus the terraced flower garden and the kitchen garden, and with some modern additions.

The main feature of the garden is the Wilderness with its central oval pond. The walks were formerly focused on statues and other features but these are gone. An adjacent hedged enclosure once framed a parterre. Alongside the Wilderness is a straight canal, whose two sections are joined by a cascade. Walks run alongside the canal on either side, framed by tall hedges of Lime and Hornbeam.

A terraced enclosure carries hornbeam hedges on stilts overlooking a modern parterre, based on a former design from Castle Coole at Enniskillen, Fermanagh. The Deer Park Bridge is an ornamental bridge which once led to the large deer park, which no longer exists.

The house does not survive except for some fragments. The former stable block, which was adapted as living accommodation after the house fire of 1922, is now the Clotworthy Arts Centre.

Features

Style

  • Baroque
  • Ornamental Canal
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  • Hedge
  • Description: Lime and hornbeam hedges.
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  • Ornamental Pond
  • Description: Oval pond in wilderness.
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  • Wilderness
  • Description: Block of woodland with network of paths formerly aligned on ornamental features, such as a statue.
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  • Mount
  • Description: Motte of mediaeval castle converted to a mount in the 18th century.
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  • Gate Lodge
  • Description: Lodge with turret.
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  • Cascade
  • Description: Cascade linking two sections of a long canal.
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  • House (featured building)
  • Description: The earliest house was an Anglo-Norman castle. This was replaced in the 17th century by a large house. This was remodelled in the Gothick style in 1813, with extensions in 1887. The house was burnt in 1922, and the ruins demolished in 1970.
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Access & Directions

Access Contact Details

The grounds are open weekdays 9.30 am to 9.30 pm, Saturday 10.00 am to 5.00 pm, Sunday 2.00 pm to 5.00 pm.

Directions

On Randalstown Road, Antrim.
History

Detailed History

The first Antrim Castle was an Anglo-Norman motte-and-bailey structure overlooking the town and the Sixmilewater River. The motte survives, adapted for use as a mount in the 17th century with a spiral walk to the top. In time the castle was set within a bawn with artillery bastions. These features were later adapted for garden use.

The major phase of development took place in the 17th century. The house is mentioned in 1610, and appears to have been complete in 1662. A large deer park surrounded the house. The gardens were laid out in the first decade of the 18th century.

Another phase of development took place in the first half of the 19th century. The house was remodelled in 1813 in the Gothick style to the design of John Bowden of Dublin. Although the gardens remained essentially unaltered, the deer park was planted with clumps. The house was further enlarged in 1887. The castle was burnt in 1922. The family then converted the stable block as a residence.

By the late-20th century the estate had been reduced by building development and roadworks. The terraced garden and kitchen garden were lost to roadbuilding. The site became the property of the local authority, which converted the stable block into the Clotworthy Arts Centre.

In recent years the garden has undergone conservation and reconstruction work, including the laying out of a new parterre, based on a design from Castle Coole. Further projects are in hand.

Associated People

People associated to Antrim Castle

Contact

Telephone

028 9056 9615

Official Website

Click Here

Other websites

Owners

  • Antrim Borough Council

    Antrim Civic Centre, 50 Stiles Way, Antrim, BT41 2UB
References

References