Olderfleet Castle – Larne, Northern Ireland - Atlas Obscura

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Olderfleet Castle

From Vikings to nationwide rebellions, this castle has seen its fair share of warfare.  


Olderfleet Castle ruins located along the shores of Larne Lough at Curran Point, the structure remains as solemn as it did when it was constructed during the 1600s. The name Olderfleet was derived from the Viking word Ukfrecksfiord, the Viking name given to what is now known as Larne Lough.

The original castle was built in 1250 by the Scottish-Irish Bissett family from Glenarm and was originally named Curran Castle. In 1315, the castle and the Bisssett’s welcomed Edward Bruce, King of Scot, and his massive army that hoped to conquer all of Ireland. The castle was later seized by the Anglo crown from the Bissett family in 1569 as it was considered an important strategic location. In 1598, the native Irish clan of the MacDonnells seized the castle and reduced it to rubble.

The present castle was built around 1612 by Sir Arthur Chichester, who used it as a strategic hub between Ireland and Scotland to transport goods and people during the war against the rebelling native Irish. The castle remained under the Chichester name until it was leased to the William Agnew family, and then in 1865 to the James Chaine family who played an important role in developing the town’s port and railway network.

After years of disrepair and multiple structural collapses, the remains of Oldefleet Castle are now an important protected historic monument.

Know Before You Go

Olderfleet Castle Ruins is located along Coastguard Road near Larne’s Port Harbour. There is limited parking along the road, but there is a small layby off the Larne Harbour Roundabout if you can’t find a space.

Another alternative is to park near the Town Centre in Larne and walk along the Inver River Tow Path towards Larne Harbour. This ventures along the main carriageway all the way up to the Larne Harbour Roundabout where you can walk along the Coastguard Road to the site. It takes about 30 minutes each way, but you can get some stunning views of Larne Lough and the Castle ruins along the towpath.

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