Quintin Castle is one of the very few occupied Anglo-Norman castles in Ireland. The castle was built by John de Courcy in 1184 and it was later occupied by the Savage family and their dependents, the Smiths. In the 17th century Sir James Montgomery, then living at Rosemount, Greyabbey, purchased the Quintin estate from Dulaltaigh Smith. His son William, built a walled courtyard and other smaller towers, a large house adjacent to the central tower and a great kitchen to the seaward side of the castle structure. They then re-roofed the castle and added new floors, all probably before 1659.
The Montgomerys sold the castle to George Ross, but he never lived in the castle, allowing it to become a near ruin. While he lived in The Mount Ross estate a few miles outside of Portaferry. In the early 19th century the castle was inherited by Elizabeth Calvert, a descendant of Ross, and restored in 1850. The central keep was raised, a walkway made within the battlements, a drawing room opened into the inner gardens, and a dining room constructed on the lowest floor of the great tower. Most of the grounds were also enclosed by a massive stone wall.
Eventually the estate was purchased by the Burgess family, who lived in Quintin from the early 1930s until the 1950s. Skeets Martin, an auctioneer from Belfast, and his wife, then occupied the castle until the early 1970s. In 1978 the castle was opened as a private old people's home, which it remained for many years until sold into private ownership. The castle has been extensively refurbished by McGimpsey and Kane Builders, changing hands most recently in late 2006. The latest owner had trouble with upkeep, in particular paying of renovation works, forcing the castle into the hands of administrators in 2012. In June 2013 Quintin Castle was sold to the Tayto Group, which in July 2016 applied for permission to use the Castle as an 8-bedroom private function venue for weddings, visiting customers, training and conferences.References:
The city walls of Avila were built in the 11th century to protect the citizens from the Moors. They have been well maintained throughout the centuries and are now a major tourist attraction as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visitors can walk around about half of the length of the walls.
The layout of the city is an even quadrilateral with a perimeter of 2,516 m. Its walls, which consist in part of stones already used in earlier constructions, have an average thickness of 3 m. Access to the city is afforded by nine gates of different periods; twin 20 m high towers, linked by a semi-circular arch, flank the oldest ones, Puerta de San Vicente and Puerta del Alcázar.