The Town Centre may be relatively compact, but there’s plenty here to keep you busy for a day trip.
As well as discovering what the town was like during the Second World War through this Tour, here are a few suggested additions to take in.
Please check with each place of interest before travelling for any changes to opening times.
This is the most obvious attraction worth visiting. It’s been here for almost 850 years, yet is virtually fully intact. It’s the best preserved medieval castle in Ireland. It’s the reason the town developed, and it still dominates the shoreline. Although parts of it are sometimes inaccessible due to redevelopment or archaeological works, it is most definitely worth a couple of your hours. Make use of the regular guided tours.
Website: Carrickfergus Castle
Carrickfergus Museum & Civic Centre
Housing artefacts that reflect the town’s history from medieval times through to more modern ones, supported with several audio-visual and interactive displays.
Website: Carrickfergus Museum
Andrew Jackson Cottage and US Rangers Centre
A dual-interest site.
There is a cottage which replicates the familial home of President Andrew Jackson, who served as the seventh president of the United States from 1829 to 1837. His parents lived in this area before emigrating to America two years before President Jackson was born.
Beside the cottage is the newly renovated US Rangers Centre, filled with uniforms, photographs, documents and other material related to this historic American elite fighting unit that was activated in Carrickfergus in the summer of 1942.
Website: Andrew Jackson Centre and US Rangers Museum
Click here for a Virtual Tour of US Rangers Museum
St. Nicholas Church
Its spire can be seen from most parts of Carrickfergus, so finding it shouldn’t be a problem. This church is only a few years younger than the Castle! Visits into the Church and supporting guided Tours are limited, so please check the website for specific details:
Website: St. Nicholas Church
Much of the medieval stone walls that surrounded the town are still visible, and in relatively good condition. There are information points at several locations as you walk around the walls. I think the best way to see them is to start at the Castle and then head towards the town’s library (cross the road using the controlled crossing just opposite the castle, turn right and follow the path along the rear of the buildings that run along High Street, and you will see the library in 200 yards). The first information point, which includes a helpful map, is located just a few yards to the right of the library.
Sails & Tales
An Exhibition housed in the recently refurbished Kelly’s Coal Office (now home to Robinson’s Shoes), Sails and Tales tells the story of Carrickfergus Harbour.
Facebook Page: Sails & Tails
There is a handy free booklet called “Experience 1500 years in one day” available from the Tourist Information centre located in the Castle.
A downloadable version is available here: Carrickfergus – 1500 Years in One Day
For things to do along the Causeway Coastal Route, you can download this Brochure
Food and Drink
Once you have chosen where to visit (after deciding to join the Lead The Way Tour, of course), you may want to consider having some refreshments during your stay in Carrickfergus. There are over 25 places where you can rest your feet and have anything from a coffee, a luxury ice-cream, an afternoon tea or right up to a full three-course meal.
It is steeped in history and oozing character, offering a great atmosphere, real coal burning fire, “craic”, quality service, and top-class food. There’s also accommodation available, with all bedrooms en suite complete with TV, telephone, complimentary WI-FI, and tea/coffee making facilities. Click on the logo to visit their website.
Just 5 miles north along the coast, you will reach Whitehead and Islandmagee. Here you will find two very good visitor attractions.
The Gobbins Path
The Gobbins’ dreamlike landscape – created through immense geological forces, carved by the elements, teeming with life – has inspired visitors for over a century. Discover how nature formed this unique place and how a nineteenth-century visionary gave ordinary people a chance to experience it for themselves.
Website: The Gobbins Path
Whitehead Railway Museum
A fascinating five gallery museum which allows you to rub shoulders with the giants of steam. You can step on the footplate of a 140 year old engine, get on board a 1950s carriage from the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland’s collection and see our restoration workshops, where these historic vehicles are brought back to life. Great restaurant too!
Website: Whitehead Railway Museum