Killyleagh Castle

Killyleagh Castle

Killyleagh Castle is a castle situated in Killyleagh, County Down, Northern Ireland - believed to be the oldest inhabited castle in the country. It follows the architectural style of a Loire valley chateau and dominates the small village, the product of architect Sir Charles Lanyon.

Archibald Hamilton Rowan of the United Irishmen lived in the castle after his return from exile in America,

It is currently the home of Gawn Rowan Hamilton and his young family. It has been the home of the Hamilton family since the 17th century Plantation of Ulster and acquired its romantic silhouette in the 1850s when the turrets were added, but it is mostly the same castle that the second Earl of Clanbrassil rebuilt in 1666, although parts date to the foundation of John de Courcy in 1180.

The castle came under attack during the troubles of the 1920s by the IRA, Gawn Hamilton has noted; "I have a cutting from the Belfast Telegraph which tells the story of my great-great uncle being woken at 2am and exchanging gunfire from the battlements, which was terribly exciting," says Gawn.

The castle hosts occasional concerts. In the past performers have included Van Morrison, Glen Hansard and Bap Kennedy and the gate lodges provide self-catering holiday accommodation.

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