Glenarm Castle & Gardens

Glenarm Castle & Gardens
Ballymena, Antrim, Ireland.

Glenarm Castle was originally built in 1636 but was devastated by fire six years later. It remained a ruin for 90 years before being revived and restructured as a Palladian country house in 1756. Further alterations were made in 1799 and 1817, but further fires damaged parts of the property again in 1929 in 1967. Today, the private kitchen is the only room remaining from the castle’s 18th-century revival.

The castle has been the ancestral seat of the McDonnell family for nearly 400 years and remains a private family home. Visitors can tour the property by special arrangement and on certain days during the year, but the gardens are open to the public and seasonal events also take place on the grounds.

In the 19th century, guests staying at Glenarm Castle spoke of seeing a ghost in their rooms. In 1853, one guest described what he had seen.

She was tall with a careworn face and deep-set eyes. She wore what seemed, in the momentary sight I had, a short petticoat of blue and brown homespun. Her arms were extended, holding the strings of a cap with frills such as the Irish women used to wear.

Despite the changes to the house across the centuries, the same ghost was apparently spotted again in the 1990s.

Hector McDonnell said that the activity in the house was so intense when he was a child in the 1950s/60s, that his mother had every room in the house exorcised – every room that is, except the attic.

Following the exorcism, terrible noises would come from the loft space. One day, Hector ventured up to see what was causing the disturbance. He turned on the light and ascended the attic stairs, only for the lights to suddenly go out leaving him in the pitch-dark space. He then sensed there was now “something” behind him. He fled the attic and discovered that there was nobody nearby who could have switched off the light on him or followed him up there. The noises continued for several years after his encounter.

A human skeleton was found on the grounds around the same time, and this led to the belief that a murder may have taken place on the property at some point and that this could explain the phenomena encountered in the house.

Venue Name
2 Castle Lane, Ballymena, Antrim, BT44 0BQ, Ireland

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Ghost Advisor Rating
Admission Policies
Opening Times Apply
Admission Fee Applies
Suitable For Families
Children Must Be Accompanied By An Adult
Facilities & Services
Café / Coffee Shop / Restaurant
Car Park
Corporate Events
Gift Shop
Guided Tours Available (conditions apply)
Toilets (opening hours may apply)
Wedding Venue

Additional Notes

The Castle is a private home but it is occasionally open to the public. Guided tours can normally be arranged for groups if requested in advance. Accommodation is also available on the estate, with self-catering ocean view pods, a restored cottage, and a gate lodge.

Users should always undertake their own checks before traveling to Glenarm Castle & Gardens or any other location listed on this website, to ensure that it will be open and accessible.

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