Exterior Front

There has been a castle at Glenarm since 1242 when Hugh de Lacy, the Norman Earl of Ulster, granted the Glens of Antrim to another Norman, John Bisset, who had previously lived in Scotland but was exiled after killing a cousin at a tournament.  John promised to go on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, but instead went straight to Ireland and built a castle at Glenarm.  Generations later, an only daughter of the Bissets married into the MacDonnell clan, who still occupy the Castle today.

Glenarm Castle has undergone many architectural transformations over the years, reflecting the tastes of the owners and contemporary design.  The Gothic style established during the 1800s was destroyed when, in 1929, a fire gutted the main block. The fire is believed to have been caused by the housekeeper’s bedroom fire, which blazed constantly to keep warm the 11th Earl’s featherless parrot!  Much of what you see today dates from the 20th Century. The new architectural designs removed some of the older features – for example, replacing the Gothic windows with rectangular ones.