Glenarm Castle

The Earls of Antrim have called it home for 400 years and its spectacular walled garden is one of Ireland’s oldest, and at one time it was almost burned to the ground, it is said on account of a fire being kept permanently burning to warm up a featherless parrot. Glenarm Castle is truly one of a kind.

Unquestionably one of the finest castles in Ireland, it was built in 1636 and forms part of a working estate that includes forests, an organic farm and the Glenarm River, well-stocked with fish. Breathtaking views of the estate and the sea can be enjoyed from the Mount in the gardens.

Located just 40 minutes from Belfast centre, Glenarm Castle makes for an excellent day trip. While it is a family home, it is open for guided tours at certain points of the year when visitors can see beautifully crafted examples of Irish furniture and family portraits. Typical open days tie in with the estate’s annual tulip festival and the Highland Games. There is also a gift shop and a cosy tearoom serving refreshments on-site.

Perhaps the highlight of any visit to Glenarm Castle however is the exquisite walled garden. Open from Easter until the end of September, it contains numerous attractions, among them a sculpture of the Madonna and Child created by the Countess of Antrim when still a teenager, as well as a circular yew hedge dating back to the early 19th Century, an obelisk forged of oak, a kitchen garden and a glasshouse filled with colourful hothouse flowers.

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