Carrickfergus Castle [Ireland Picturesque and Romantic]

Artist(s) : Thomas Creswick (Draughtsman), Robert William Wallis (Engraver)

View of Carrickfergus Castle. On the left, below the castle, two women and a man are conversing by the water's edge. A few ships and a smaller boat are anchored close by, at the foot of the rocky outcrop on which the castle is built. Further out in the bay, a large ship is sailing towards the viewer.

Inscribed in Image

  • Signature – T. Creswick. / R. Wallis
  • Caption outside of boundaries of image – Carrickfergus Castle.
  • Text outside of boundaries of image – London. Published for the Proprietor, by Longman & Co. Paternoster Row.

Image Details

Genre Landscape
Technique Etchings
Subject(s) Antiquities and archaeological sites, Architecture, Forts and fortifications, Marines
Geographical Location
  • Carrickfergus Castle, Co. Antrim - Castle
  • Antrim - County
  • Ulster - Province
Keywords(s) Archaeological sites, Beaches, Boats, Castles, Fishing, Harbours, People, Seas, Ships, Women
Colour Monochrome
Dimensions 10.5 cm x 12.7 cm
Published / created 1838

Bibliographical Details

Travel Account Ireland Picturesque and Romantic
Print or manuscript Print
Location of image in copy Vol. II, facing p. 59
Source copy National Library of Ireland Ir 9141 r 15
Alternative source

This is a link to a digital copy hosted by an external website.
Rights Courtesy of the National Library of Ireland

Related text from travel account

The ride along the shores of Belfast Lough is extremely agreeable. The sheet of water is beautiful, and so are the gently swelling hills by which it is bound in, Carrickfergus is niched in an angle of land, which seems to form the northern limits of // the Lough, although this is in reality farther on; and the castle, of which a view is annexed, stands
upon a rock projecting into the sea. Carrickfergus, notwithstanding its fine situation, is a poor and dirty town, and swarms with beggars. The castle is of considerable antiquity, and has its due share of interest in Irish history. It was here King William landed, when he came, like one of the knightly princes of an earlier age, to fight out his quarrel with King James. Long before, it had been the landing place of Edward Bruce; and long after, of M. Thurot, who, with a small force of three frigates and six hundred men, entered the Bay of Carrickfergus to attempt the conquest of Ireland for the French. M. Thurot was a very extraordinary man in his way; and perhaps the reader will not be displeased to have before him the following brief notice of his life, taken from the Annual Register for 1760. "He was born in Boulogne. His paternal grandfather, Captain Farrell, was a native of Ireland, and an officer in the army of James II. With that monarch he fled to France, where he died. His widow survived but a very short time, during which she gave birth to a son in Boulogne, who was left to the care of her family, and went by the name of Thurot. Remaining in Boulogne many years, he became acquainted with one Farrel, an Irish smuggler, who claimed relationship with him. His son (afterwards commodore Thurot) who was // then about fifteen years of age, embarked with Farrell for Limerick; but stopping at the Isle of Man, a dispute took place between them, and young Thurot hired himself to a gentleman of Anglesea, This person was an experienced smuggler, and had several vessels in the trade, in one of which Thurot sometimes went. Upon one occasion he was sent to Carlingford, where he re mained almost a year, to manage some business of importance. At Carlingford he acquired a tolerable knowledge of the English language; and, instead of returning to his master set off for Dublin, with only a few shillings in his pocket. There he entered into the service of Lord B, with whom he lived nearly two years, under the name of Dauphine. He next entered into the service of the Earl of Antrim, and went with the family to Glenarm, where, falling in with some smugglers, he joined them, and made several trips between Ireland and Scotland. Having acquired some money, he proceeded to Edinburgh, where he became acquainted with a Mr. V; and was for sometime master of one of his sloops, called the Annie, which traded to London. From 1743 till 1752 he traded between England and France; and chiefly to Boulogne, where at last he was arrested as a smuggler. Having remained for some time in prison at Dunkirk, he was transmitted to Paris, where he underwent an examination as to the most effectual means of checking the contraband trade. Through // the interest of M. Tallard, the son of his godmother, he not only obtained his liberty, but also the command of a sloop of war; and in 1759, owing to his knowledge of the channel, was selected to command the squadron which was sent to Ireland. This squadron was eventually captured off the Isle of Man, and Thurot killed in the action." Being accidentally prevented from delivering an introduction to Mr. McSkimin, the author of a History of Carrickfergus, I shall so far make use of that gentleman, as to describe the castle in his own words. "Towards the town are two towers, called from their shape half moons, and between these is the only entrance, which is defended by a strait passage, with embrasures for fire-arms. About the centre of this passage was formerly a drawbridge; a part of the barbican that protected the bridge can still be seen. A dam west of the castle, is believed to have been originally made to supply the ditch at this entrance with water. Between the half moons is a strong gate, above which is a machicolation, or aperture, for letting stones, melted lead, or the like, fall on the assailants. Inside this gate is a portcullis, and an aperture for the like purpose as that just mentioned; the arches on each side of this aperture are of the gothic kind, and the only ones observed about the building. In the gun room of these towers are a few pieces of light ordnance. A window in the east tower, inside, is ornamented // with round pillars; the columns are five feet high, including base and capital, and five inches and a half in diameter. The centre column seems to be a rude attempt at the Ionic; the flank columns have the leaves of the Corinthian; their bases consist of two toruses. Within the gates is the lower yard, or balium; on the right are the guard room and a barrack; the latter was built in 1802. Opposite these are large vaults, said to be bomb proof, over which are a few neat apartments occupied by the officers of the garrison, ordnance storekeeper, and master gunner. A little southward are the armourer's forge and a furnace for heating shot; near which, on the outer wall of the castle, is a small projecting tower, called the lion's den. Southward, on the right, is the passage into the inner yard or upper balium, by a gate with a semicircular arch, above which is a long aperture, circular at the top. Inside, this aperture opens considerably; and, on each side, are niches in the wall, apparently to protect those who defended the gate —northward of which are several similar apertures, and on the south, a square tower, near which is a small door, or sally-port, with semicircular arch, and ornamented. The openings above this gate, and in the wall, appear to have been originally intended for the discharging of arrows; the top of the wall overhead seems to have been formerly garrated for a like purpose. Within this yard, which is encompassed by a // high wall, is a small magazine, built a few years since, several store-houses, and the keep, or donjon, a square tower ninety feet high. Both the south and east sides of this tower face the inner yard, its west wall forming a part of the outside building: its north wall faces the outer yard. The walls of the keep are eight feet ten inches thick; the entrance is on the east by a semicircular door in the second story. On the left of the entrance is a small door, now built up, by which was formerly a passage in the south-east corner, by helical stone stairs, to the ground floor and top of the tower. In this passage were loop-holes for the admission of air and light; and opposite each story a small door that opened into the different apartments. At present the ascent to the top is partly by wooden stairs inside. The ground story of the keep is bomb proof, with small slits looking into the inner yard. It is believed to have been anciently a state prison, and is now the principal magazine in this garrison. Several rooms in the other stories are occupied as an armoury, and for other military stores. On the top of the tower are two small houses; that on the south-east corner covers the mouth of the passage; the other, on the south-west corner, seems to have been intended for a sentinel. The tower is divided into five stories: the largest room was formerly in the third story, with semicircular windows. It was called Fergus's dining-room, and was twenty-five feet ten inches // high, forty feet long, and thirty-eight broad. Within the keep was formerly a draw-well, thirty-seven feet deep, the water of which was anciently celebrated for medicinal purposes. This well is now nearly filled up, with rubbish." [Vol. II, p. 58-64]
Carrickfergus Castle [Ireland Picturesque and Romantic]