Ballygally Castle overlooks the sea at the head of Ballygally Bay. Now run as a hotel, it is the only 17th century building still used as a residence in Northern Ireland, and is reputed to be one of the most haunted places in all of Ulster.

The castle was built in 1625 by James Shaw, of Scotland, who had come to the area and rented the land from the Earl of Antrim. Over the main entrance door to the castle, leading to the tower, is the Middle Scots inscription 'Godis Providens is my Inheritans'. The castle did come under attack, from the Irish garrison at Glenarm, several times during the rebellion of 1641 but each assault was unsuccessful. The castle was owned by the Shaw family until it passed into the hands of William Shaw in 1799. In the 1950s the castle was bought by the carpet tycoon Cyril Lord and was extended and renovated. It is now owned and run by the Hastings Hotels Group.




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Founded: 1625
Category: Castles and fortifications in United Kingdom

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User Reviews

Elizabeth Galloway (2 years ago)
Fabulous place beautiful food excellent staff. I did get married here 28 years ago and it just gets better with every visit.
Jan Blunt (2 years ago)
What a beautiful, comfortable place to stay! We loved the seaside room with full ocean view, and walking through the lovely gardens behind the hotel. The bed was extra comfortable, and the bath with heated floor luxurious. Dinner and breakfast were excellent!! Be sure to check out the Ghost Room, but be careful climbing up the narrow tower stairs!
Christine Watson (2 years ago)
I’ve delivered training in this picturesque location twice now & dined on at least 4 different locations. Facing the sea this historic castle that I’ve been lucky to stay overnight in has rooms with views of the sea, a small beach opposite and a free car park right in front of the hotel. Full of history including stories of a ghost the hotel is managed by gentleman Norman the service is friendly and the training room was ideal for my needs. Also check out the game of thrones carved door. Found on the causeway coastal route.
natasha lafferty (2 years ago)
My husband and I have had an amazing Honeymoon experience.. The food was amazing.. Service was the best we have had in a long time.. The rooms are very warm the bed was very comfy.. we would highly recommend it.
Chef Luigi (2 years ago)
I ordered pasta and meatballs with no sauce. I told them twice not to put sauce on it and a few minutes later, they came back with sauce on it. They got it cooked again without sauce which was good. Dessert was delicious and I loved the paper straws which gave a sign that it was a eco friendly hotel and restaurant. Could go again but the staff need to improve their listening skills.
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Kirkjubøargarður ('Yard of Kirkjubøur', also known as King"s Farm) is one of the oldest still inhabited wooden houses of the world. The farm itself has always been the largest in the Faroe Islands. The old farmhouse dates back to the 11th century. It was the episcopal residence and seminary of the Diocese of the Faroe Islands, from about 1100. Sverre I of Norway (1151–1202), grew up here and went to the priest school. The legend says, that the wood for the block houses came as driftwood from Norway and was accurately bundled and numbered, just for being set up. Note, that there is no forest in the Faroes and wood is a very valuable material. Many such wood legends are thus to be found in Faroese history.

The oldest part is a so-called roykstova (reek parlour, or smoke room). Perhaps it was moved one day, because it does not fit to its foundation. Another ancient room is the loftstovan (loft room). It is supposed that Bishop Erlendur wrote the 'Sheep Letter' here in 1298. This is the earliest document of the Faroes we know today. It is the statute concerning sheep breeding on the Faroes. Today the room is the farm"s library. The stórastovan (large room) is from a much later date, being built in 1772.

Though the farmhouse is a museum, the 17th generation of the Patursson Family, which has occupied it since 1550, is still living here. Shortly after the Reformation in the Faroe Islands in 1538, all the real estate of the Catholic Church was seized by the King of Denmark. This was about half of the land in the Faroes, and since then called King"s Land (kongsjørð). The largest piece of King"s Land was the farm in Kirkjubøur due to the above-mentioned Episcopal residence. This land is today owned by the Faroese government, and the Paturssons are tenants from generation to generation. It is always the oldest son, who becomes King"s Farmer, and in contrast to the privately owned land, the King"s Land is never divided between the sons.

The farm holds sheep, cattle and some horses. It is possible to get a coffee here and buy fresh mutton and beef directly from the farmer. In the winter season there is also hare hunting for the locals. Groups can rent the roykstovan for festivities and will be served original Faroese cuisine.

Other famous buildings directly by the farmhouse are the Magnus Cathedral and the Saint Olav"s Church, which also date back to the mediaeval period. All three together represent the Faroe Island"s most interesting historical site.