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Glenarm Castle

Glenarm Castle

Medieval conflicts of the Glens and Causeway Coast, giving way to an 18th-century elegance that transformed this achingly beautiful site into one of the treasures of Northern Ireland.

Meet the Locals:
Adrian Morrow

Visiting Glenarm Castle is like walking back into our past. Medieval conflicts of the Glens and Causeway Coast, giving way to an 18th-century elegance that transformed this achingly beautiful site into one of the treasures of Northern Ireland.

There has been a castle here since Anglo-Norman John Bissett was granted the Glens of Antrim back in 1242 but it was nearly another three centuries before the McDonnell clan claimed the castle for their own. And it wasn't until over a hundred yearfs after that Randal Arranagh McDonnell, the First Earl of Antrim, built his own castle on the site, which was unhelpfully burned by a visiting Scots army just a few years later.

It would be yet another hundred years or more before the wonderful building we see today began to take shape. For much of that time the McDonnells lived in their other great home, Dunluce Castle, whose ruins tower over the Atlantic Ocean along the coast from here. According to legend, they finally decided to vacate Dunluce when their kitchen hurtled into the crashing waves below, taking some members of staff with it!

Glenarm Castle | Shaped by Sea and Stone

It was the 5th Earl who transformed the ruin of Glenarm into one of Ireland's finest palladian houses. With some refinements, extensions and re-developments, that's pretty much what we see today under the ownership of Viscount Randall Dunluce and his wife, Viscountess Aurora

But it is only in recent years that the rest of us have been able to experience this extraordinary place, with its sumptuous castle and exquisite walled garden, for ourselves.

It has been under their watch that the early 1800s walled garden, created by Randall's ancestor, Countess Ann, has been developed into one of our leading visitor attractions and spectacular public events have finally opened up Glenarm Castle to the world.

One man who has played a part in this unique story is the Castle's Managing Director, Adrian Morrow, who fell in love with this place as a child.

Virtually growing up on the estate, Adrian was influential in staging the first open days here, when a curious public finally got inside to watch events like sheepdog trials.

Glenarm Castle | Shaped by Sea and Stone
"My father was chauffeur and then estate manager here and I used to hide under a blanket in his van and sneak in, just to be part of the place."

With this success, they were encouraged to seek more ways to bring in visitors. The four acre walled garden with its ancient Irish Yews seemed an obvious attraction. Largely used as a sick bay for animals as well as a market garden, restoration was long and costly, not least of the vast Victorian glasshouse, but it ultimately put Glenarm on the map.

It would be impossible to do justice to the sheer vibrancy of the garden's colour, the tranquillity of its walks, or its sense of history but when you go donít miss the manmade mount.


Plan Your Trip

Make the most of your stay in Mid & East Antrim by selecting from one of our itineraries. Each one caters to a different interest, a different mood, and ensures you experience the very best in the region.

Coast Itinerary

The Causeway Coastal Route that twists and turns along the ancient County Antrim coastline is quite simply a journey unlike any other.

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Coast Itinerary | Shaped by Sea and Stone

Heritage Itinerary

This land has a story to tell - A historic tale passed down through generations, through artefacts and ruins, through folklore and ancient writings, where etchings of the past reveal a deeper understanding.

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Heritage Itinerary | Shaped by Sea and Stone

Hospitality Itinerary

Let’s explore the culinary landscape of Mid and East Antrim and follow the trail of one of Ireland’s Top Ten Foodie Destinations of 2019.

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Hospitality | Shaped by Sea and Stone

48-Hour Itinerary

The idyllic area of Mid & East Antrim was not built in a day, over thousands of years, the land started to take shape - with the collision of the rough Irish Sea on the soft grassy verges and the power of mother nature, the land started to flourish.

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48 Hours | Shaped by Sea and Stone
48 Hour Itinerary

Game of Thrones® Itinerary

The makers of HBO’s Game of Thrones® wanted to find an ancient landscape new to the rest of the world - dramatic cliffs that give way to beautiful valleys, medieval castles towering over picturesque stone harbours.

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GOT | Shaped by Sea and Stone
Game Of Thrones®