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Carrickfergus Castle

Carrickfergus Castle

Photographer: Hudson, John

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1867

Shelfmark: 1782.a.19

Item number: 11

Length: 17.7

Width: 11.4

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Photograph

"The town of Carrickfergus is one of the oldest in Ireland, and has held for centuries a prominent place in the annals of the country. Its history is full of interest, for in all the wars of ages it has been made to play a conspicuous part. Of the ancient fortifications there still exist some interesting remains; the walls may be distinctly traced, and the 'North Gate' is almost perfect. The town is said to have derived its name from 'Carrig,' a rock; and 'Fergus,' an Irish king, who was lost in a storm off the coast some three or four hundred years before the birth of Christ. The castle is a magnificent specimen of an inhabited Anglo-Roman fortress, and was built by De Courcy in 1178, to protect his Ulster possessions. it changed hands, however, during the invasion of Bruce, who, having captured Olderfleet, occupied Carrickfergus, after a long and spirited defence by the English garrison, under Manderville. After Bruce's fall, in the battle near Dundalk, the castle again reverted to the English. In the unhappy civil wars it was held by the Puritans. The castle occupies a strong position on a rock, overlooking the Lough, and at high water is surrounded on three sides, the harbour occupying the area to the south. The entrance from the land side is through a fine gateway, flanked on either side by a tower called a half-moon. The castle contains the usual defensive appliances, such as portcullis, embrasures for fire-arms, and the apertures for pouring down melted lead, &c., upon the assailants. Within the gates is the lower yard, containing guard-rooms and barracks; and to the south again is the upper yard, containing the most conspicuous portion of the castle - the great donjon or keep, a high square tower, of five storeys. The largest room, called Fergus's diningroom, was in the third storey, with some circular windows; it was twenty-five feet high, thirty-eight feet broad, and forty feet long; the ground storey was bomb-proof, and within the keep was a draw-well, thirty-seven feet deep, but now nearly chocked up with rubbish. The walls of the castle follow the sinuosities of the rock all around. Since 1843 it has been garrisoned for the Crown by a detachment of artillery and pensioners, and has lately been refitted with guns of newer type and calibre."

Descriptive letterpress from the book 'Photographs of the Giant's Causeway.'

Author not stated.

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