In Carlingford, there is a beautiful ruined medieval castle. It is usually called King John’s Castle (not to be confused with Limerick Castle), or Carlingford Castle. Magnificent, the latter seems to sit on a huge rock overlooking the Irish Sea (Carlingford Lough). Now in ruins, the building offers an inexplicable charm to the village: very popular with tourists, it is one of the must-see places in the area!
Carlingford Castle has a history closely linked to the life of the famous Hugh de Lacy, a rich Anglo-Norman who marked Irish history (Lord of Meath and Earl of Ulster). It is to him that we owe part of the construction of the castle (notably the west wing).
For the little anecdote, the building owes its name “King John’s Castle”, to the fact that King John (John in English), Lord of Ireland, supposedly stayed there for 3 days during the year 1210. He had then the firm intention to track down Hugues de Lacy, the owner of the castle himself, who would have fled there!
The castle has undergone many historical episodes over the centuries… Until it became the ruins it is today. Still magnificent, Carlingford Castle is still imposing, and its ruins give it an additional charm.
Its structure, although weakened, has a D shape. Its walls are 3.4 meters thick: a choice that allowed the castle to resist the most virulent attacks.
The west wing consisted of a guardhouse and a square tower with narrow loopholes.
The east wing had an impressive large rectangular hall, as well as a basement and two additional floors.
Nowadays, their visit is still possible, but some areas are impassable, as they are considered too dangerous. Nevertheless, you will be able to walk around the ruins and admire the typical Anglo-Norman architecture of the time. Don’t miss the view over the sea: you will feel like you are living an experience from another age!