Carrickfergus (from Irish: Carraig Fhearghais, meaning "Fergus's rock") is a large town in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. It sits on the north shore of Belfast Lough, 11 miles (18 km) from Belfast. The town had a population of 27,998 at the 2011 Census. It is County Antrim's oldest town and one of the oldest towns in Ireland as a whole. Carrickfergus was the administrative centre for Carrickfergus Borough Council, before this was amalgamated into the Mid and East Antrim District Council in 2015, and forms part of the Belfast Metropolitan Area. It is also a townland of 65 acres, a civil parish and a barony.
The town is the subject of the classic Irish folk song "Carrickfergus", a 19th-century translation of an Irish-language song (Do Bhí Bean Uasal) from Munster, which begins with the words, "I wish I was in Carrickfergus".
Carrickfergus Castle at sunset
|Population||27,998 (2011 Census)|
|• Belfast||11 miles (18 km)|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Dialling code||028 93|
|EU Parliament||Northern Ireland|
The town is said to take its name from Fergus Mór (Fergus the Great), the legendary king of Dál Riata. According to one tale, his ship ran aground on a rock by the shore, which became known as "Carraig Fhearghais" – the rock of Fergus.
As an urban settlement, Carrickfergus far pre-dates the capital city Belfast and was for a lengthy period both larger and more prominent than the nearby city. Belfast Lough itself was known as 'Carrickfergus Bay' well into the 17th century. Carrickfergus and the surrounding area was, for a time, treated as a separate county. The historical walled town originally occupied an area of around 97,000 square metres, which now comprises the town centre, bordered by Albert Road to the west, the Marine Highway to the south, Shaftesbury Park to the north and Joymount Presbyterian Church grounds to the east. Segments of the town wall are still visible in various parts of the town and in various states of preservation. Archaeological excavations close to the walls' foundations have yielded many artefacts that have helped historians piece together a picture of the lives of the 12th and 13th century inhabitants.
Carrickfergus became an inhabited town shortly after 1170, when Anglo-Norman knight John de Courcy invaded Ulster, established his headquarters in the area and built Carrickfergus Castle on the "rock of Fergus" in 1177. The castle, which is the most prominent landmark of Carrickfergus, is widely known as one of the best-preserved Norman castles in Ireland.
Sometime between 1203 and 1205, De Courcy was expelled from Ulster by Hugh de Lacy, as authorised by King John. de Lacy oversaw the final construction of the castle, which included the gatehouse, drum towers and outer ward. It was at this time that he established the nearby St Nicholas' Church. de Lacy was relieved of his command of the town in 1210, when King John himself arrived and placed the castle under royal authority. de Lacy eventually regained his title of Earl of Ulster in 1227, however the castle and its walled town were captured several more times following his death (in 1242) and the town largely destroyed by the Scots in 1402.
The Battle of Carrickfergus, part of the Nine Years War, took place in and around the town in November 1597. It was fought between the crown forces of Queen Elizabeth I and the Scots clan of MacDonnell, and resulted in a defeat for the English. A contemporary Elizabethan illustration of Carrickfergus shows ten tower-houses, as well as terraces of single-storey houses, some detached cottages and 70 or more Irish beehive-type huts in the town.
Sir Arthur Chichester was appointed by the Earl of Essex to govern the castle and town in 1599 and was responsible for the plantation of English and Scottish peoples in the town, as well as the building of the town wall.
In 1637 the Surveyor General of Customs issued a report compiled from accounts of customs due from each port and their "subsidiary creeks". Of the Ulster ports on the list, Carrickfergus was first, followed by Bangor, Donaghadee, and Strangford. In the same year the town sold its customs rights - which ran from Groomsport, County Down up to Larne, County Antrim to Belfast. This in part led to its decline in importance as the province of Ulster grew.
Nevertheless, the decaying castle withstood several days of siege by the forces of William of Orange in 1689, before surrendering on 28 August. William himself subsequently landed at Carrickfergus on 14 June 1690.
During the Seven Years' War, in February 1760, the whole town was briefly captured and held to ransom by French troops landed from Francois Thurot's naval squadron, after the defenders ran out of ammunition. In 1711 Carrickfergus was the scene of the last witchcraft trial in Ireland. Eight women were charged with bewitching a young girl, and were convicted, despite a strong indication from one of the judges that the jury should acquit. They were sentenced to a year in prison and four sessions in the pillory.
In April 1778, during the American War of Independence, John Paul Jones, in command of the American ship Ranger, attempted to capture a British Royal Navy sloop of war, HMS Drake, moored at Carrickfergus. Having failed, he returned a few days later and challenged Drake to a fight out in the North Channel which the Americans won decisively.
During the 1790s there was considerable support in the Carrickfergus area for the United Irishmen. On 14 October 1797 William Orr was hanged in the town following what was widely regarded as a show trial held in Carrickfergus Courthouse (now the Town Hall) and in 1798 United Irish founder Henry Joy McCracken was captured on the outskirts of the town while trying to escape to America.
In 1912 the people of Carrickfergus turned out in their thousands to watch as the RMS Titanic made its first ever journey up the lough from its construction dock in Belfast. The famous passenger liner was anchored overnight just off the coast of Carrickfergus, before continuing on its journey.
During World War II, Northern Ireland was an important military base for United States Naval and Air Operations and a training ground for American G.I.s. The First Battalions of the elite US Rangers were activated and based in Sunnylands Camp for their initial training. The US Rangers Centre in nearby Boneybefore pays homage to this period in history. It is rumoured that Italian and German POWs were held in the town, the Italians in a camp at Sullatober mill, and Germans at Sunnylands.
In the 1970s, the town became an important centre for the textile industry. An ICI man-made fibres factory was opened at Kilroot and was followed by the Rothman's cigarette factory. Courtaulds operated a large rayon works there until the 1980s.
In 1981, Kilroot power station opened and is the largest power station in Northern Ireland. Carrickfergus now is a centre for leisure sailing, and is home to Carrickfergus Marina and Carrickfergus Sailing Club. The town is part of the Greater Belfast conurbation, being 11 miles (18 km) from Belfast city centre.
Throughout the course of The Troubles, there was a reasonably large paramilitary presence in the town, namely the Ulster Volunteer Force and Ulster Defence Association. Census figures show that the Catholic population of Carrickfergus declined from 16.2% in 1971 to 9.56% in 2011.
On Census day (27 March 2011) there were 27,998 people living in Carrickfergus. Of these:
Carrickfergus railway station opened on 1 October 1862. In addition, the northwest of the town is served by Clipperstown railway station, and the east by Downshire railway station. All three stations have regular commuter services to Belfast and Larne. Three historic stations in Carrickfergus, Barn, Eden and Mount, closed in the 1970s.
United Bus company, Northern Ireland's oldest bus company that dates back to the late 1800s was started in Carrickfergus and has now grown to be the third largest bus and coach company across the entirety of Ireland.
Local MLAs for the area are:
Local Councillors for the area are:
There are many primary and secondary schools in Carrickfergus, including:
Sporting establishments in the town include:
Baron Carrickfergus is a title in the Peerage of the United Kingdom, referring to Carrickfergus in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. Its current holder, since its creation on 29 April 2011, is Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, who was granted the title as a personal gift, by Queen Elizabeth II, on the day of his marriage to Catherine Middleton. On the same day he was also created Duke of Cambridge and Earl of Strathearn, with his bride becoming Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge as well as Countess of Strathearn and Baroness Carrickfergus as a result of the marriage. Traditionally, when male members of the British royal family marry, they are granted at least one peerage. Catherine uses the title Lady Carrickfergus in a fuller version of her titles and styles, Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge, Countess of Strathearn and Baroness Carrickfergus.Belfast Lough
Belfast Lough is a large, intertidal sea inlet on the east coast of Northern Ireland. At its head is the city and port of Belfast, which sits at the mouth of the River Lagan. The lough opens into the North Channel and connects Belfast to the Irish Sea.
Belfast Lough is a long, wide and deep expanse of water, virtually free of strong tides. The inner part of the lough comprises a series of mudflats and lagoons. The outer lough is restricted to mainly rocky shores with some small sandy bays. The outer boundary of the lough is a line joining Orlock Point and Blackhead.
The main coastal towns are Bangor on the southern shore (County Down) and Carrickfergus on the northern shore (County Antrim). Other coastal settlements include Holywood, Helen's Bay, Greenisland and Whitehead.Boneybefore
Boneybefore ( BON-ee-bi-for) is an area of Carrickfergus in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. It lies between the A2 road and Belfast Lough.
It is home to the Andrew Jackson Centre (also known as the Andrew Jackson Cottage), the ancestral home of Andrew Jackson, 7th President of the United States. The centre is housed in a traditional thatched Ulster–Scots farmhouse built sometime in the 1750s, which was home to Andrew Jackson's parents shortly before they emigrated to South Carolina in the United States. It has been decorated in the style of that period and features an extensive display on the life of Andrew Jackson. The cottage's grounds feature the US Rangers Centre, which pays homage to the soldiers of the First Battalions of the elite US Rangers, which was first "activated" in Carrickfergus in 1942.Carrick (Northern Ireland Parliament constituency)
Carrick was a single-member county constituency of the Parliament of Northern Ireland.Carrick Rangers F.C.
Carrick Rangers Football Club is a semi-professional Northern Irish football club playing in NIFL Premiership. The club, founded in 1939, hails from Carrickfergus, County Antrim and plays its home matches at
Taylors Avenue which is known as the Belfast Loughshore Hotel Arena due to sponsorship reasons. Carrick Rangers main rivals are Larne, with matches between the sides being known as, "The East Antrim Derby." Ballyclare Comrades are also local rivals.Carrickfergus (Parliament of Ireland constituency)
Carrickfergus was a constituency represented in the Irish House of Commons from 1326 to 1800.Carrickfergus (UK Parliament constituency)
Carrickfergus is a 19th-century United Kingdom Parliament constituency, in Northern Ireland, represented, between 1801 and 1885, by one MP.Carrickfergus (barony)
Carrickfergus is a barony in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. It is bounded on the south-east by Belfast Lough, and otherwise surrounded by the barony of Belfast Lower. It is coextensive with the civil parish of Carrickfergus or St Nicholas and corresponds to the former county of the town of Carrickfergus, a county corporate encompassing Carrickfergus town.Carrickfergus Advertiser
The Carrickfergus Advertiser was a weekly newspaper in the east Antrim town of Carrickfergus.Carrickfergus Borough Council
Carrickfergus Borough Council was a district council in County Antrim in Northern Ireland. It merged with Ballymena Borough Council and Larne Borough Council in May 2015 under local government reorganisation in Northern Ireland to become Mid and East Antrim Borough Council.
The council headquarters were in Carrickfergus and the council administered the town, on the north shore of Belfast Lough, and surrounding area, which extended from Greenisland in the south-west to Whitehead in the east. The borough was 32 square miles (83 km2), with a population of just over 39,000.
Together with the neighbouring district of Larne and small parts of Newtownabbey and Moyle, it formed the East Antrim constituency for elections to the Westminster Parliament and Northern Ireland Assembly.Carrickfergus Castle
Carrickfergus Castle (from the Irish Carraig Ḟergus or "cairn of Fergus", the name "Fergus" meaning "strong man") is a Norman castle in Northern Ireland, situated in the town of Carrickfergus in County Antrim, on the northern shore of Belfast Lough. Besieged in turn by the Scottish, Irish, English and French, the castle played an important military role until 1928 and remains one of the best preserved medieval structures in Northern Ireland. It was strategically useful, with 3/4 of the castle perimeter surrounded by water (although in modern times only 1/3 is surrounded by water due to land reclamation). Today it is maintained by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency as a state care historic monument, at grid ref: J4143 8725.Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, (born Catherine Elizabeth Middleton; 9 January 1982), is a member of the British royal family. Her husband, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, is expected to become king of the United Kingdom and 15 other Commonwealth realms, making Catherine a likely future queen consort.Catherine grew up in Chapel Row, a village near Newbury, Berkshire, England. She studied art history in Scotland at the University of St Andrews, where she met William in 2001. Their engagement was announced in November 2010. They married on 29 April 2011 at Westminster Abbey. The couple's children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis of Cambridge, are third, fourth, and fifth in the line of succession to the British throne, respectively.The Duchess of Cambridge's charity works focus mainly on issues surrounding young children, addiction, and art. To encourage people to open up about their mental health issues, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke of Sussex initiated the mental health awareness campaign "Heads Together" in April 2016. The media have called Catherine's impact on British and American fashion the "Kate Middleton effect". In 2012 and 2013, Time magazine selected her as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World.County Antrim
County Antrim (named after the town of Antrim, from Irish: Aontroim, meaning "lone ridge", [ˈeːnˠt̪ˠɾˠɪmʲ]) is one of six counties that form Northern Ireland. Adjoined to the north-east shore of Lough Neagh, the county covers an area of 3,046 square kilometres (1,176 sq mi) and has a population of about 618,000. County Antrim has a population density of 203 people per square kilometre or 526 people per square mile. It is also one of the thirty-two traditional counties of Ireland, as well as part of the historic province of Ulster.
The Glens of Antrim offer isolated rugged landscapes, the Giant's Causeway is a unique landscape and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Bushmills produces whiskey, and Portrush is a popular seaside resort and night-life area. The majority of Belfast, the capital city of Northern Ireland, is in County Antrim, with the remainder being in County Down.
According to the 2001 census, it is currently one of only two counties of Ireland in which a majority of the population are from a Protestant background. The other is County Down to the south.Glenoe
Glenoe or Gleno (from Irish: Gleann Ó) is a hamlet in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. It is halfway between Larne and Carrickfergus. In the 2001 Census, it had a population of 87 people. Glenoe is in the Mid and East Antrim Borough Council area.Greenisland
Greenisland is a town in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. It lies 7 miles north-east of Belfast and 3 miles south-west of Carrickfergus. The town is on the coast of Belfast Lough and is named after a tiny islet to the west, the Green Island.It is a semi-rural community located at the foot of Carn Hill , upon which stands the Knockagh Monument, a war memorial for those from County Antrim who died in the first and second world wars.The town has two distinct areas, known locally as Upper Greenisland and Lower Greenisland after the upper Station Road and lower Station Road around which two parts are respectively located. Upper Greenisland stretches from Upper Road (B90) to the railway station at the bottom of Upper Station Road, includes Greenisland Primary School and features predominantly middle-class demographics and housing. Lower Greenisland runs from the railway station, down Station Road and ends at Shore Road (part of the A2 road). It features a large, predominantly protestant working-class housing estate built during the 1950s and 1960s and includes Greenisland Library, Greenisland Community Centre, a number of churches, a small shopping parade at Glassillan Court and Silverstream Primary School. The village in its entirety stretches from the foot of the hill to the shore of Belfast Lough.Kilroot
Kilroot (from Irish Cill Ruaidh, meaning 'church of the redhead') is a townland, population centre and civil parish in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. It lies to the east of Eden, on the outskirts of Carrickfergus on the northern shore of Belfast Lough. It is within the Mid and East Antrim Bourgh council area.Marquess of Donegall
Marquess of Donegall is a title in the Peerage of Ireland held by the head of the Chichester family, originally from Devon, England. Sir John Chichester sat as a Member of Parliament and was High Sheriff of Devon in 1557. One of his sons, Sir Arthur Chichester, was Lord Deputy of Ireland from 1604 to 1614. In 1613, he was raised to the Peerage of Ireland as Baron Chichester, of Belfast in County Antrim. He died childless in 1625 when the barony became extinct.However, in the same year the Chichester title was revived in favour of his younger brother, Edward Chichester, who was made Baron Chichester, of Belfast in the County of Antrim, and Viscount Chichester, of Carrickfergus in County Antrim. Both titles are in the Peerage of Ireland. He was succeeded by his eldest son, Arthur Chichester. A distinguished soldier, he was created Earl of Donegall in the Peerage of Ireland in 1647 (one year before he succeeded his father), with remainder to the heirs male of his father.He died without male issue and was succeeded (in the earldom according to the special remainder) by his nephew Arthur Chichester, the second Earl. He was the eldest son of Lieutenant-Colonel John Chichester, second son of the first Viscount. Lord Donegall had previously represented Donegal County in the Irish House of Commons. His eldest son, the third Earl, was a Major-General in the Spanish army and fought in the War of the Spanish Succession. He was killed in action in 1706. His eldest son, the fourth Earl, died childless and was succeeded by his nephew, the fifth Earl. He was the son of the Hon. John Chichester, younger son of the third Earl. Lord Donegall was created Baron Fisherwick, of Fisherwick in the County of Stafford, in the Peerage of Great Britain in 1790, and one year later he was further honoured when he was made Earl of Belfast and Marquess of Donegall in the Peerage of Ireland.His grandson, the third Marquess, served as Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard under Lord John Russell between 1848 and 1852. In 1841, three years before he succeeded his father in the marquessate, he was created Baron Ennishowen and Carrickfergus, of Ennishowen in the County of Donegal and of Carrickfergus in the County of Antrim, in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. Both his sons predeceased him and on his death in 1883 the barony of 1841 became extinct. He was succeeded in his other titles by his younger brother, the fourth Marquess. On the death of his grandson, the sixth Marquess, in 1975, the line of the second Marquess failed. The sixth Marquess was succeeded by his kinsman, the fifth Baron Templemore (see below), who became the seventh Marquess. From 1975 until 1999, when most hereditary seats were abolished with the passage of the House of Lords Act 1999, the Marquess sat in the House of Lords as Baron Fisherwick in the Peerage of Great Britain. As of 2015, the titles are held by the latter's son, the eighth Marquess, who succeeded in 2007.Prince William, Duke of Cambridge
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, (William Arthur Philip Louis; born 21 June 1982) is a member of the British royal family. He is the elder son of Charles, Prince of Wales, and Diana, Princess of Wales. Since birth, he has been second in the line to succeed his grandmother Elizabeth II, who is queen of the United Kingdom and 15 other Commonwealth realms.
William was educated at four schools in the United Kingdom and studied for a degree at the University of St. Andrews. During a gap year, he spent time in Chile, Belize, and Africa. In December 2006, he completed 44 weeks of training as an officer cadet and was commissioned in the Blues and Royals regiment. In April 2008, William completed pilot training at Royal Air Force College Cranwell, then underwent helicopter flight training and became a full-time pilot with the RAF Search and Rescue Force in early 2009. His service with the British Armed Forces ended in September 2013. He then trained for a civil pilot's licence and spent over two years working as a pilot for the East Anglian Air Ambulance.
In 2011, Prince William was made Duke of Cambridge and married Catherine Middleton. The couple have three children: Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis.Siege of Carrickfergus (1689)
The Siege of Carrickfergus took place in August 1689 when a force of Williamite troops under Marshal Schomberg landed and laid siege to the Jacobite garrison of Carrickfergus in Ireland. After a week the Jacobites surrendered, and were allowed to march out with the honours of war.
Italics denote settlements that are classed as towns but also have city status Northern Ireland portal
Places in County Antrim