near Bellaghy, County Londonderry, Northern Ireland
Bellaghy Bawn is situated about 2 miles off the Belfast to Londonderry road near the town of Bellaghy, north west of Lough Neagh. The bold white building, located in Castle Street, it is known locally as "the castle”.
Bellaghy Bawn is a 17th century fortified tower house with a surrounding defensive wall (known as a bawn). The Bawn is one of the best preserved in Northern Ireland.
Parts of the bawn wall are still standing, although the northern bawn wall with the entrance has gone. The excavated foundations of an earlier 17th-century house can be seen against the western bawn wall. There used to be two round towers at opposite corners of the bawn. Only the south-east tower survives and is attached to the house.
On the western wall is a gateway through the wall, and on the outside you can see brick buttresses that have been built to prop up the leaning wall.
The house contains displays featuring the work of local poet, Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney and other Ulster poets. It also has exhibits featuring local natural history, and a history of the Ulster Plantation. There are video displays of the bawn and some of Seamus Heaney's broadcasts.
The castle is open Wednesday to Sunday from 10am to 5pm between Easter and the end of September. Reduced opening hours apply for the rest of the year with the house open on Wednesdays from 10am to 4pm and Sundays from noon to 4pm.
The Castle was built by Sir Baptist Jones in 1619 on land rented from the Vintners Company of London. On the site is a blend of building styles from 17th century to 19th century. It is believed that the main house was built in the 18th century on the site of the original 17th century house.
The Bawn was attacked in the rebellion of 1641 rebellion, but survived unscathed when many in the area were burned down.
The house was occupied until 1987. Bellaghy Bawn has been open to the public since 1996.
Other Castles in the Area
Mountjoy Castle, County Tyrone
Salterstown Castle, County Londonderry
Shanes Castle, County Antrim