While the present castle has stood since 1636, there has been a castle at Glenarm since the 13th century. Once stretching all the way up the northern coast of Antrim, today’s Glenarm estate is now much smaller, housing an organic farm instead of a deer park and a charming Tea Room where the 19th century Mushroom House once sat.
Though still a family home, guided tours of the Castle are available at selected times. The grounds are a hive of activity, hosting the Highland Games for the past number of years, as well as the 10-mile Wilderbeast trail run, and an annual Tulip Festival. And, with the seaside a short stroll away, what more could you want?
The Third Earl of Rosse was an innovative gent. His Leviathan telescope, still in working order at Birr Castle, was once the largest in existence, and his wife Mary created one of the world’s first darkrooms in the estate stables. It’s not difficult to see why – Birr Castle Gardens are some of the most stunning in Ireland. Endless exotic flowers enliven the grounds in a rainbow of colour, while waterfalls and lakes are home to otters, herons and kingfishers.
Within the castle, visitors are guided by descendants of the Earl and his wife, whose portraits still adorn the great Victorian dining room. The view from the spectacular, octagonal Gothic Saloon drinks in the River Camcor, from where the couple’s son once harnessed the current to provide Birr with electricity.