Tuesday, 9 June 2020

Antrim Castle: 1824

ANTRIM CASTLE, COUNTY ANTRIM, SEAT OF THOMAS HENRY, 2nd VISCOUNT FERRARD, FROM AN ENGRAVING BY JOHN PRESTON NEALE

"Antrim Castle adjoins the town from whence it takes its name; a view up the principal street of which is commanded from the parapet of the adjoining terrace garden, ascended from the Castle yard by a handsome flight of stone steps.

It is enclosed from the town by a gateway, and stands on a walled terrace, overhanging the river Sixmilewater, which flows into the vast waters of Lough Neagh, within sight of the Castle, at about the distance of a quarter of a mile.

This castle is among the few found to be preserved in Ireland, of those erected in pursuance of the injunctions of the grant made by JAMES I for the protection of the colonies or plantations then about to be established.

The building was raised, as appears by an inscription, on a large carved mantel of stone, covering the centre of the principal front, in the year 1613, by Sir Hugh Clotworthy, and has been subsequently altered according to the different tastes of its successive proprietors.

The front of the Castle is also decorated with the armorial bearing of the family, and those of their alliances, surmounted by the royal arms of England, and a carved head, in relief, of CHARLES I.


THE suite of rooms is extensive and modern, the entire Castle having undergone a thorough repair in the time of the last Earl of Massereene.

The exterior towards the Court has been recently restored by the present possessor to the character of the period in which it was originally erected.

Few places in Ireland command greater power of beauty, or extent of drive.

Its demesne and deer-park stretch along the shores of Lough Neagh for above two miles, ornamented with fine old timber and copse wood, covering every headland, down to the river edge, with various plantations, calculated to blend in the scenery of as rich and highly cultivated  a county as any to be found in Ireland.

The view over the lough towards the south is bounded only by the horizon, which towards the west it rests on the distant Tyrone and Derry mountains, and the nearer woods of Shane's Castle, the ancient seat of the Earl O'Neill, whose towers project into the lough itself.

These two fine domains, indeed, embrace, with their woods and pleasure grounds, the whole of the bay of Antrim, an extent of six or seven miles.

The gardens are on the same side of the river with the Castle.

An ancient bridge of six arches, represented in the plate, leading to the park and outgrounds, is overlooked by one of those old mounts, ascended by a winding path, erected in strict accordance with Bacon's notions, being, as he recommends, "some forty feet high."


THE gate-house, leading from the town of Antrim to the Castle Court, has been also added by the present possessor, and is remarkable for the sympathetic hinges on which the massive gates are opened and closed."

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