Monday, 6 July 2020

Quintin Castle

QUINTIN CASTLE is located on the Ards Peninsula, about 2½ miles east of Portaferry,  County Down.

It is one of the very few inhabited Anglo-Norman castles in Ulster.

The original castle was built by John de Courcy in 1184.

In the later middle ages the castle was held by the Smiths, a dependent family of the Savages.

In the mid-1600s, Sir James Montgomery, a relation of the Savages, purchased the castle and the surrounding lands from Dualtagh Smith.

Sir James and his son William renovated the castle, adding a large house to it as well as a walled courtyard.

At some period after an interlude in the 1650s, when a Cromwellian officer held Quintin, the Montgomerys sold the castle to George Ross, a member of an influential local family who held lands at Kearney.

Ross never lived at the castle, which remained in its mid-17th century form until the 1850s, when one of his descendants, Elizabeth Calvert, set about remodelling it.

Entrance Front of Quintin Castle. Image: Robert John Welch (1859-1936)

Quintin Castle was, by that time, a ruinous structure, much of whose stone, according to the OS Memoirs, had been taken by local people.
This remodelling included the raising in height of the central keep, the construction of drawing and dining rooms and the general decoration to the entire building, as well as rebuilding the courtyard walls, gates and outer towers.
In 1897, the estate was sold by the Land Commission.

The house, however, remained with the descendants of the Calverts, one of whom, Magdalen King-Hall, became a writer whose many works included The Wicked Lady, a story of highwaymen and women, which later became a successful film.

The King-Halls sold the castle in the 1920s and Quintin passed though a series of owners, one of whom, James O'Hara, ran the building as a nursing home during the 1980s.

It may have been at this stage that that the secondary entrance in the front facade was added, perhaps to provide easier access for some of the elderly residents.

The central keep was raised; a walkway constructed within the battlements; a drawing-room which opened into the inner gardens; and a dining-room constructed on the lowest floor of the great tower. 

Most of the grounds were also enclosed by a massive stone wall.

In the 1870s the estate comprised 1,007 acres.

Quintin Castle was extensively refurbished by the builders McGimpsey and Kane, changing hands most recently in 2006.

It underwent a further restoration ca 2006, when it was bought by the property developer, Paul Neill.

In 2011, one bank moved against him taking control of two of his retail parks in Bangor over a £37m debt. Mr Neill was subsequently declared bankrupt.

Consequently, the Irish government's National Asset Management Agency (Nama) repossessed the castle in 2012.

In June, 2013, Quintin Castle was sold (asking £1.65m with 22 acres) to the Tayto Group (owned by the Hutchinson family's Manderley Food Group).

In July, 2016, the new owners applied for planning permission to convert the castle into an eight-bedroom "boutique hotel", with permission to utilize the courtyard for functions such as weddings.


The original demesne is now split up, but the house retains stone-walled terrace gardens, which were depicted as being fully planted up.

The walled garden is in separate ownership.

There is medieval-style gateway leading into the grounds of ca 1855, and a tall octagonal rubble-constructed folly tower within the grounds.

First published in January, 2011.


Anonymous said...

Here's an article about the Castle's owner - VC

Rex Hunter said...

the diaries of Admiral George King-Hall inc. many mentions of life at Quintin ( owned by his wife's sister Nini Ker ) can be found at

Anonymous said...

Do you know if there are any relics of estate buildings within the former demesne?

That's an excellent photo of the castle you have posted. It looks very grand indeed. In the right part of the world, Quintin would be worth a fortune. But stuck at the bottom of the Ards Peninsula is far from ideal. I might try a low-middling bid.
Do you know if Nama have put it on the market yet?

R. Wombat

Twila Furlin said...

Aw, this was a very nice post. Spending some time and actual effort to make a great article but what can I say I hesitate a whole lot and don't seem to get nearly anything done.

Anonymous said...

Quintin Castle is now for sale through Templeton Robinson for £1.65m with 22 acres, listed B1 -

Anonymous said...

I had the privilege of having a tour of the castle with my cousin who was a friend of the occupants when I was visiting from Canada.
Prior to my visit I had done an oil painting of the Castle for my Irish Mother for her Birthday so seeing and touring the castle was the highlight of my vacation. I was in awe. Would love to be able to see it again. Thanks for posting the photos and the history.
Ellen Sergas, Waterloo, Ontario Canada.

Anonymous said...

In June 2013 Quintin Castle was sold (asking £1.65m with 22 acres) by NAMA. In July 2016 its new owner, Mullahead Property Company Ltd, part of Tayto Group (owned by the Hutchinson family's Manderley Food Group), applied for permission to use the Castle as an 8-bedroom private function venue for weddings, visiting customers, training and conferences.