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:
Varberg Fortress was built in 1287-1300 by count Jacob Nielsen as protection against his Danish king, who had declared him an outlaw after the murder of King Eric V of Denmark. Jacob had close connections with king Eric II of Norway and as a result got substantial Norwegian assistance with the construction. The fortress, as well as half the county, became Norwegian in 1305.
King Eric's grand daughter, Ingeborg Håkansdotter, inherited the area from her father, King Haakon V of Norway. She and her husband, Eric, Duke of Södermanland, established a semi-independent state out of their Norwegian, Swedish and Danish counties until the death of Erik. They spent considerable time at the fortress. Their son, King Magnus IV of Sweden (Magnus VII of Norway), spent much time at the fortress as well.
The fortress was augmented during the late 16th and early 17th century on order by King Christian IV of Denmark. However, after the Treaty of Brömsebro in 1645 the fortress became Swedish. It was used as a military installation until 1830 and as a prison from the end of the 17th Century until 1931.
It is currently used as a museum and bed and breakfast as well as private accommodation. The moat of the fortress is said to be inhabited by a small lake monster. In August 2006, a couple of witnesses claimed to have seen the monster emerge from the dark water and devour a duck. The creature is described as brown, hairless and with a 40 cm long tail.