This is Antrim Castle a few years after it was set on fire. At the front
above the door are the coats of arms of the Ferrards and Massereens and
even in this sad state it is still attracting vistors as you can see by
the car and over to the right is the Motte where from the top the last cannon
ball was fired during the Battle of Antrim.
ANTRIM CASTLE 3827
This aerial photograph must have been taken in the early 1900's because near
to the right and near to the top you can see St.Comgalls Chapel and yet beside
it there is no is no sign of Oriel Road that runs straight up to the Railway
Station. Over to the left of St. Comgalls Chapel you can see the Ballymena
Road, now if we follow the road towards the town there are no houses built
on the right side of the road from near the Chapel also on the left side there
are no white big Nissan style sheds that belonged to Rea's Sawmill so if it
was in operation it must have been small business or was somewhere else at
the time. Now you come on down Castle Street and turn on to High Street and
there to the right is the Old court House. Near the bend is the Barbican Gate,
which was the entrance to the Castle and a man who lived with hi family above
the gate would open it to let people in and out, next to it you can see a
long dark pathway which leads down to the Sixmilewater River. During WWWI
the Irish Horse Regiment would bring their horses down the pathway to water
the horses they also did this down Riverside. Inside the Castle grounds you
first see the walled gardens and the greenhouses and areas where food is growing.
On the other side of the walled gardens is the grand entrance to Antrim Castle,
I presume the grey area in the middle is grass. On the left side of the castle
at the back you can see the Octagon Tower which sadly is all that is left.
To find out why ask an Antrim Councillor to tell you the unofficial true story.
On the right side of the castle is the mound with a flag pole on the top,
In the Battle of Antrim on the 7th June 1798 there was a cannon at the top
of mound and it fired the last shot of the battle which flew up High Street
and crashed through the then straw roof of First Antrim Presbyterian Church
where some of the protesters where hiding behind the church wall. To the right
hand corner of the Castle near the trees you can see what looks like a triangle,
it is the roof of the Band room and below it is the pump room which fed water
to the Castle and the gardens and canals. Beneath the Castle grounds are numerous
tunnels going in all directions, one even went under the Sixmilewater River!
The pump room has recently been refurbished and tours will take you through
a tunnel into the Pump room. Sadly they did not do the same for the Band Room
where local townsmen practised and were called the "Massereene Brass
and Reed Band" and were famous and played all over the North. To find
out what happened to the band ask an Antrim Councillor to tell you the unofficial
true story. The road branching off behind the Castle goes to a building which
was then called Clothworthy and here is were the horses where stabled and
the stable boys lived, Alexander Irvine the famous Antrim book writer once
Now if anyone can tell me the year this photograph was taken please let me
know and I will send you a copy.
This photograph was taken long after October 1922 when during a great ball
arsonists set a fire going underneath the grand staircase and deliberate made
sure there was no water in the big tanks which were in the loft area. It did
not take long for the whole castle to catch fire when they heard screams coming
from one of the first floor windows. It was Ethel one of the servants, they
quickly got a ladder and very soon had Ethel back down, by this time the ambulance
had come and took over but it was to late, she had not got burned but was
overcome by smoke inhalation and sadly died. In the foreground you can see
a gate and an entrance witch most likely had steps and was probably used by
the servants, further on you can see were the wall has collapsed for they
did nothing to secure the building for it was a great attraction for it had
been magnificent, just beyond the fallen wall is a main door for upper class
to come out through and take in the wonderful views including the Sixmilewater
River. Eventually the castle got into such bad way that Antrim Borough Council's
own Architect ordered it to be bulldozed down and all that is left is the
Although now the Council have worked hard at the Castle grounds and has now
won many awards, it is worth going to see.
This sadly is Antrim Castle in the 1940's slowly crumbling away from the once
beautiful Castle it once was. Next to the Castle is the motte and the steps
to the right lead up to the wall enclosed gardens.