The Gatehouse

This ancient fortress, standing at the mouth of Belfast Lough, has witnessed generations of history – and has featured in the story of Ulster and Scotland from earliest times.  It is said that in the 6th century, Fergus Mac Eirc, King of Dalriada, crossing from Scotland to Ulster, perished on a rock in the bay – and the name ‘Carrickfergus’ (the rock of Fergus) dates to then.

The castle today is still a formidable medieval structure and one of Ulster’s most recognisable and beloved landmarks.

Looking down you can see the outer and middle wards of the castle. John de Courcy, an Anglo-Norman knight, is credited with building the original inner ward with several buildings including a massive keep at least three storeys high. Between 1203-1205 De Courcy was ousted by another Norman adventurer, Hugh de Lacy, who later enclosed the rest of the promontory to form an outer ward and gatehouse, doubling the area of the castle.