The sky from Carrickfergus Castle

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By rights I should be showing you Picture the Eighth.

Which is a picture of the perfectly formed Norman stronghold, built in 1177 by John De Courcy, after he conquered Ulster, named Carrickfergus Castle.

This Castle, which you cannot see in the picture, has the distinction of having been besieged by the English, the Scots, the Irish and  French. Although the Frenchman was stretching it a bit: he was the smuggler and privateer Francis Thurot whose men looted the castle and sailed away laughing.

Take away the white houses and this line of hills would be your view as the besieged.

The Celt and I arrived at sunset and tried to gain access to this troubled fort-next-the-glassy Belfast Lough, but it was closed.

But there were still people at the windows.

This is one of those charming places where they use life-size figures to make the castle more life-size. Dummies stood at the windows, forever frozen and besieged, watching the most incredible Northern Irish sunset. Cars drove past, seagulls screeched, a to-scale and slightly intimidating statue of King William III overseeing the car park with puritan sternness.

The strange soft vividness of the sun was in such stark contrast to the feeling of uncompromise. That great castle growing stubborn from a promontory, a petrified King in all his finery, statues at the windows looking down at the King and his subjects.

A place where battles were had whether they wanted them or no.

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11 thoughts on “The sky from Carrickfergus Castle

  1. We would all love to wander over that one and enjoy the views. Somewhere from which to see how far my bow can shoot from a castle? A hapless tourist toppling over would mark the spot.

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