Featured image of Ballygally Castle

The History of Ballygally Castle

LocationBallygally, County Antrim, Northern Ireland (Google Maps)
Open for VisitorsYes
Owned byHastings Hotels Group
Official WebsiteBallygally Castle
Rooms AvailableYes (Stay, Weddings, Conferences, Events, Filming)

Located in the town of Ballygally, Northern Ireland, Ballygally Castle is established approximately 3 miles north of Larne. The castle is constructed overlooking the sea of Ballygally Bay. Ballygally Castle is now run as a hotel and is reputed to be one of the most haunted places in all of Ulster.

History of Ballygally Castle

Ballygally Castle was built in 1625 by James Shaw and his wife, Isabella Brisbane. James Shaw was a native of Scotland and had come to Ireland in 1602. Here, he rented the land from the Earl of Antrim for £24 a year. It was on this land that the castle was built. The original castle served as a hiding place for the Protestants during the Civil Wars. In 1799, it was handed down from father to son and was passed to William Shaw, the last squire of Ballygally. Unfortunately, in the early 1800s, the Shaw family lost all their wealth and sold the property to the Agnew family for £15,400.

Before being refurbished as a hotel, the castle was passed down to several hands. For a few years, the castle was used as a coastguard station before Reverend Classon Porter, and his family took residence there. Later taken over by the Moore family, it was passed onto textile millionaire Mr Cyril Lord in the early 1950s, who refurbished it as the hotel we see today.


Ballygally Castle was purchased by the Hastings Hotels Group in 1966, and after years of rigorous transformations and extensions, it was built into the charming hotel it is today. In 2014, the hotel underwent an additional refurbishment and extension process with the addition of ten new Coastal Deluxe bedrooms, a new larger reception area, and the stunning new Kintyre Ballroom. In 2007, Ballygally Castle received official four-star status from the Northern Ireland Tourist Board. All the refurbishment process undertaken by the hotel has been under supervision not to disrupt the history of the original building that dates back to 1625.

The castle is a stunning fort built on the tip of the famous Causeway Coastal Route. The 17th-century castle overlooks the golden sands of Ballygally Bay and has breathtaking views across the Irish Sea. Apart from the beautiful interiors, the castle also offers a visit through the stunning Causeway Coastal Route, Carrickfergus Castle, Bushmills Distillery, Royal Portrush Golf Course, Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, and the popular Game of Thrones Tour. One can enjoy beautiful walks in Carnfunnock County park nearby or simply relax and enjoy the beach wind across the marvellous hotel.

Ballygally Castle Hotel
Ballygally Castle Hotel”, by Michael Dibb, is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Movie Features

Game of Thrones- HBO’s award-winning television series Game Of Thrones was filmed in the areas surrounding Ballygally Castle. The cast and crew of the series were also seen frequently relaxing at the castle hotel’s interiors. The castle hotel also offers a Game of Thrones-themed afternoon tea to remember the pleasure of hosting them.

Frequently Asked Questions

Built in 1625, Ballygally Castle is reputed to be one of the most haunted places in all of Ulster. As folktales suggest, Ballygally Castle is reportedly home to the ghost of Lady Isabella Shaw, wife of the owner of the castle back then, Mr James Shaw. The ghost is known to be a friendly ghost and does not harm anyone.

  • How many rooms does Ballygally hotel have?

The interior of Ballygally Hotel has been made keeping in mind the fusion of different styles with the antiquity of the castle intact. The castle has 54 royally furnished bedrooms designed to keep the utmost level of relaxation and comfort in mind.

Have you visited Ballygally Castle before?? If yes, please share some beautiful pictures with us!!
You can email us your pictures of the castle at castrumtocastle@gmail.com. Please use the name of the castle in the subject line.
Also, don’t forget to mention your name and social media profile link if you want the credits!

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He is a versatile E-Learning Support Officer and former Academic Officer at the University of York, United Kingdom. Not just an expert in education and technology, Debayan also has a deep love for castles and mountains. With a passion for travel, having explored 168+ cities worldwide, and a keen eye for photography, He brings a unique blend of experiences to the table. Specializing in E-learning content, IT support, AR development, and software engineering, Debayan has made a significant impact, educating over 200,000 students on Udemy.

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