Olderfleet Castle is a four-storey towerhouse, the remains of which stand on Curran Point to the south of Larne Harbour.
The original towerhouse was possibly built by the Scoto-Irish Bissett family of Glenarm around 1250, although these remains are actually thought to be those of Curran Castle, a towerhouse built in the sixteenth-century. On a 1610 map it was called Coraine Castle.
In 1315 Edward Bruce landed here with his 6000 strong army en route to conquer Ireland, with a welcome from the Bissetts. Queen Elizabeth I considered the castle of such strategic importance that it was seized for the crown and Sir Moyses Hill appointed its governor in 1569. In 1597 the castle was claimed by the MacDonnells and in 1598 it was dismantled.
The present castle was probably built about 1612. In 1621 it was granted to Sir Arthur Chichester and remained in that family until leased to William Agnew in 1823. James Chaine purchased the lease in 1865. In 1938 it was taken into State Care.
What remains of the four-storey towerhouse is part of the tower with pairs of gun loops in the basement. The square remains show that it only had 1 metre thick walls and it is without visible domestic features, which means that it could have been built as a fortified warehouse and watchtower.References:
Derbent is the southernmost city in Russia, occupying the narrow gateway between the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus Mountains connecting the Eurasian steppes to the north and the Iranian Plateau to the south. Derbent claims to be the oldest city in Russia with historical documentation dating to the 8th century BCE. Due to its strategic location, over the course of history, the city changed ownership many times, particularly among the Persian, Arab, Mongol, Timurid, Shirvan and Iranian kingdoms.
Derbent has archaeological structures over 5,000 years old. As a result of this geographic peculiarity, the city developed between two walls, stretching from the mountains to the sea. These fortifications were continuously employed for a millennium and a half, longer than any other extant fortress in the world.
A traditionally and historically Iranian city, the first intensive settlement in the Derbent area dates from the 8th century BC. The site was intermittently controlled by the Persian monarchs, starting from the 6th century BC. Until the 4th century AD, it was part of Caucasian Albania which was a satrap of the Achaemenid Persian Empire. In the 5th century Derbent functioned as a border fortress and the seat of Sassanid Persians. Because of its strategic position on the northern branch of the Silk Route, the fortress was contested by the Khazars in the course of the Khazar-Arab Wars. In 654, Derbent was captured by the Arabs.
The Sassanid fortress does not exist any more, as the famous Derbent fortress as it stands today was built from the 12th century onward. Derbent became a strong military outpost and harbour of the Sassanid empire. During the 5th and 6th centuries, Derbent also became an important center for spreading the Christian faith in the Caucasus.
The site continued to be of great strategic importance until the 19th century. Today the fortifications consist of two parallel defence walls and Naryn-Kala Citadel. The walls are 3.6km long, stretching from the sea up to the mountains. They were built from stone and had 73 defence towers. 9 out of the 14 original gates remain.
In Naryn-Kala Citadel most of the old buildings, including a palace and a church, are now in ruins. It also holds baths and one of the oldest mosques in the former USSR.
In 2003, UNESCO included the old part of Derbent with traditional buildings in the World Heritage List.