near to Carncastle and Milltown, County Antrim, Northern Ireland
Ballygally Castle is located 26 miles from Belfast in the village of Ballygally on the sandy beaches of the Antrim coast.
The original stone castle is built in the style of a French Chateau with corner turrets and a steep roof. The castle adjoins the more recent addition of a modern white rendered building of three floors.
Ballygally Castle is now a 4 star hotel. The hotel offers 44 bedrooms; some in the original part of the castle, with traditional furnishings, beamed ceilings and beautiful views.
The hotel’s garden restaurant overlooks the grounds and serves local produce in traditional and modern cuisine. The grand affair of Sunday lunch is served in the River Room with views over the beach and bay out towards Scotland. Visitors can also eat in the hotel’s lounge bar, the dungeon or the ‘1625 Room’ which is also used as a wedding venue.
As a wedding venue the experienced management team is responsible for overseeing every detail of the special day. Receptions can be held in the River Room or the ‘1625 Room’ which is smaller more intimate room with its fireplace and antique furniture. The wedding couple also gets one of the best rooms in the house, a luxury suite overlooking the bay or gardens for their first night.
Ballygally Castle was built in 1625 by James Shaw a Scot who came to Ireland in 1606 in search of his fortune. He was granted a plot of land for £24 a year on which he built the original castle.
The castle was used during the civil war as a place of refuge for the protestants and on a number of occasions a local garrison of soldiers tried to take it but without success. In the middle of the 18th century the castle was extended as four new residents came to live there; the squire Henry Shaw, his new wife and her two sisters.
The castle remained in the Shaw family with the last squire of Ballygally being William Shaw in the early 1800’s when the castle and lands were lost along with all the family’s wealth.
After this time the castle was first used as a coastguard station and then as a home to at least three other families until it was eventually sold in the 1950’s to Cyril Lord a textile millionaire who refurbished the castle and opened it as a hotel. 1n 1966 the Hastings Hotel Group became the owners of the hotel since when it has undergone refurbishment a number of times.
Legend has it that on the birth of his first son and heir Lord Shaw took the child and locked him in a room at the top of the tower. Whilst looking for her child Lady Isobella accidentally fell (or was pushed) through the tower window to her death. Her spirit is reported to haunt the castle.
Other Castles in the Area
Bangor Castle, County Down
Carrickfergus Castle, County Antrim
Glenarm Castle, County Antrim
Olderfleet Castle, County Antrim