7 beautiful abandoned places in Northern Ireland

Blogs, Things to do

Posted by Mags

Published February 23, 2017

From coastal castles half fallen into the sea and mysterious abbey ruins; and cliff edge libraries to the Belfast drawing offices where the RMS Titanic was ‘born’, Northern Ireland is home to some beautiful abandoned places.

The ruins of Bonamargy Friary, County Antrim

Inch Abbey, County Down

Located on the north bank of the Quoile River, Inch Abbey, County Down was founded by John de Courcy in atonement for his destruction of Erenagah Abbey. The buildings are mainly from the 12th and 13th centuries while it is believed the church is older than that at Grey Abbey which was built about 1193.

Downhill Demesne & Mussenden Temple, County Londonderry

Discover the striking 18th-century mansion of the eccentric Earl Bishop that now lies in ruin. Afterwards explore the stunning Mussenden Temple, perched dramatically on a 120 ft cliff top, it built in 1785 as a summer library to the main house, which was inspired by the Temple of Vesta in Tivolo, near Rome.

Monea Castle, County Fermanagh

Few castle ruins so readily engage the imagination as the picturesquely sited Monea - undoubtedly the most complete and best-preserved of all the Plantation castles of Ulster. Monea Castle is situated where a Maguire castle would have been based prior to the Plantation and a crannog is still visible. Building was started in 1616 by the Rector of Devenish, the Reverend Malcolm Hamilton. It had a bawn built later, in 1622, shortly before Hamilton was promoted to become Archbishop of Cashel in 1623.

Dunluce Castle, Causeway Coastal Route

Located along the Causeway Coastal Route, Dunluce Castle is located dramatically close to a headland that plunges straight into the sea and was headquarters of the MacDonnell Clan. There is archaeological evidence of a village that surrounded the castle which was destroyed by fire in 1641. The site was also witness to the sinking of a colony ship that broke up on the rocks off Islay in 1857 with the loss of 240 lives.

Constantly fought over, it eventually succumbed to the power of nature, when part of it fell into the sea one stormy night in 1639. It was abandoned shortly afterwards.

Devenish Island Monastic Site, County Fermanagh

Devenish Monastic Site was founded in the 6th century by Saint Molaise on one of Lough Erne's many beautiful islands in County Fermanagh. During its history it has been raided by Vikings (837AD), burned (1157AD) and flourished (Middle Ages) as a parish church site and St Mary's Augustine Priory. The island is home to ancient ruins and an impressive 12th century round tower.

Bonamargy Friary, County Antrim

Bonamargy Friary, County Antrim was built close to the mouth of the Carey and Shesk rivers by Rory MacQuillan in 1500, the rival MacDonnell clan fought for and claimed the friary from the MacQuillans in 1588.

The cloister, gatehouse, altar and church are well preserved except for the thatch roof with many interesting features including the east window, a staircase and a sealed burial vault amongst the ruins. The coffins of several Earls of Ulster and chieftain, Sorley Boy MacDonnell, lie within.

Grey Abbey, County Down

Founded in 1193 by John de Courcy's wife; Afreca, and situated within the parkland of the 18th Century Rosemount House, visitors to Grey Abbey are welcome to wander among the ruins and lawns of this breath taking abbey church.

There is also a small visitor's centre with displays and a reconstructed 'medieval' physic garden.



Posted by Mags

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