Antrim is a small but bustling market town located in County Antrim in Northern Ireland. It offers the chance to explore the slower pace of life offered by many of the more rural parts of Northern Ireland, while at the same time being within easy reach of the cosmopolitan attractions of the capital city of Belfast, which sits just 18 miles to the east.
The fact that Antrim is served by two major airports, George Best Belfast City Airport and Belfast International Airport, both of which are just a short drive away, means that it draws visitors from both mainland UK and the wider world. Whether you’re looking for a base to use when visiting Belfast, a convenient spot from which to explore the countryside of County Antrim or a window into the history of Ireland as a whole, Antrim is the perfect place to stay.
Accommodation in Antrim
The diversity of the appeal of Antrim is reflected in the broad range of accommodation on offer within the city and in the areas surrounding. Some people might be seeking a simple hostel in which to recover from a hard day’s hiking, while others will want to enjoy a luxurious rustic lodge with stunning views over the vast waters of Lough Neagh. Whether you’re a wedding party looking for somewhere large enough to cater for the whole of the celebration, or a family group wanting to explore the forests, hills and mountains surrounding Antrim, you’ll be bound to find an establishment which is just right.
One of the aspects of Antrim which is the most attractive is the fact that the rich history of the town, which has been home to people for over 1,500 years, can be seen easily in the streets themselves and the very stones of the buildings. Visit the information centre in the Old Courthouse, located in the ancient Market Square, and you’ll be able to pick up guides setting out a carefully designed heritage walk, taking you around some of Antrim’s most important historical sites, not least of which is Antrim Castle.
Antrim Castle was originally built on the banks of Six Mile Water River in 1613 and was expanded somewhat in 1662. In 1813 it was rebuilt completely in the form of a mansion in the Georgian gothic style, and other features created at the time included a formal Italian garden and a stable block which was later converted into local historical cultural attraction, Clotworthy House, now an Arts Centre.
The Destruction of Antrim Castle
The main bulk of the castle was destroyed by a fire which broke out during a grand ball in 1922, and in 1970 the ruins were demolished, leaving what remains to be explored today: an area of raised land and a freestanding Italianate tower.
The Ghost of Antrim Castle
If you opt to explore the tower and the land surrounding it, you may wish to go during daylight hours, since local legend has it that the castle gardens are haunted by a ghost they call the White Lady, reputed to be the spirit of one Ethel Gilligan, a local girl who died as a result of injuries sustained in the castle fire. If you’re still feeling brave enough to explore, the castle and grounds can be found at the end of Castle Way, just after it crosses the A6 Dublin Road.