Gosford, County Armagh, Northern Ireland
Situated in Armagh close to the border of County Down, Gosford Castle is 14 miles south of Craigavon.
The castle was built of local granite in a Norman Revival style with a crenellated three storey keep and huge round tower. The entrance has two drum like towers at each side and a curved bay window above. It is set in 11 acres of landscaped gardens and parkland which also contain a walled garden.
Today the castle appears the same on the outside but inside it is very different; it has been made into 23 individual apartments ranging from one to four storeys in height.
Some of the castle's apartments are available to rent, including one in the stable yard, and another in the east wing.
The stable yard apartment can sleep up to 5 guests in three bedrooms; it features large granite arches, high ceilings with oak beams and a limestone fireplace with cast iron stove.
The east tower apartment sleeps up to 4 people in 2 bedrooms and also has high ceilings with views over the castle and courtyard.
Gosford Castle was designed by the architect Thomas Hooper for the 2nd Earl of Gosford, Archibald Acheson, construction began in 1819 with funds provided by his wife. She chose to have the castle built in a Norman revival style as she was a friend of Lord Byron's wife and preferred something romantic. The castle was not completed until the 1850's but with its 197 rooms was the largest house in Ireland.
In 1921 the contents of the castle were sold by the 4th Earl to pay off gambling debts and due to lack of funds the castle fell it into disrepair. The Second World War saw the castle used as a prisoner of war camp and it was even the winter headquarters for a traveling circus in later years.
In 1958 the Ministry of Agriculture bought the estate and established Gosford Forest Park and the castle. The castle was in need of urgent work and in 1978 a development company was granted on a 99 year lease to develop private homes on the site. Due to difficulties with the developer the council regained possession of the castle in 2002 and sold it for just £1000 to the Boyd partnership who took on the task of changing the Grade A listed building into private dwellings.
Other Castles in the Area
Castle Leslie, County Monaghan
Hope Castle, County Monaghan
Mountjoy Castle, County Tyrone
Narrow Water Castle, County Down
Tandragee Castle, County Armagh