Featured Image for Shane's Castle

A Ruined Marvel-Shane’s Castle

Shane’s Castle, also known as Edenduffcarrick is a lovely castle near Randalstown, in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. With a little-known history, there is not much history left to know about this beautiful castle. One of the only significant events known about this castle is from when it was destroyed by fire in 1816.

The history of Shane’s Castle

This lovely castle is on the northeast shores of Lough Neagh. It was originally built by the Clandeboy O’Neill dynasty as Eden-duff-carrick and later on, the name was changed to Shane’s Castle. This castle and the surrounding estate are some of the most beautiful and well-maintained historic places in Ireland.

It has also been extensively used in the television series, Game of Thrones.

Tower and a wall at Shane's Castle
Wall and tower at Shane’s Castle. Source: Flickr.

The early history

The castle was built in 1345 by a member of the Clandeboy O’Neill dynasty. An early account of the rebellion in Ulster stated that in 1596, “on the edge of Lough Neagh standeth a runiated pile called Edendow Carreck, which, being made wardable, could be converted into a store for provisioning Blackwater and Coleraine in case of sea storms.”

This castle had changed hands many times before it finally settled in the hands of Shane McBrian O’Neill. He was given the castle by James I because Shane’s family had held the castle at various times previously. It is said that the name Shane’s Castle was derived from him and that he changed the name in 1722.

Destroyed by fire

John, 1st Viscount O’Neill, lived at Shane’s Castle for a long time until his death in 1798. Soon after, his wife announced that the castle had been levelled by fire, going on to write “I have no words to describe the beauty and splendour of this enchanting place which, I’m sorry say has been levelled by fire. Here was often assembled all the talent, and rank, and beauty of Ireland. The luxury of this establishment almost inspired the recollection of an Arabian Nights entertainment.”

Unfortunately, this wasn’t the first time that the castle was destroyed by fire.

Expansion at Shane’s Castle

Earl O’Neill succeeded his father in 1798 which was about ten years later. He went forth and entrusted his ideas for a further expansion of the castle with a grand architect known as Nash. Nash also designed Regent Street, Regent’s Park, Carlton House Terrace, and Buckingham Palace. He was the leading architect of his day.

He built both in the Gothic castellated style of Shane’s Castle as well as the classic style of Buckingham Palace. The main objective was to give the house a southern aspect because it had previously faced east.

ruins at Shane's Castle
Ruins still remain at the site. Source: Flickr.

Destroyed by fire once again

In 1816, only the terrace and conservatory at the castle had been completed when the main block of Shane’s Castle was, once again, destroyed by fire. Legend usually says that the fire was the result of the Banshee. Normally, a room was kept completely empty for her use, however, on this occasion, a large house party needed every single room of the castle.

In sheer anger of finding her room occupied, she set the castle on fire.

The current day

The terrace, even though it is no longer surrounded by water, is a permanent reminder of Nash’s fantastic scale of building. It is a shame the rooms weren’t completed as the uncompleted rooms would have commanded a fine view over the Lough. The completed conservatory is an exact copy of the one Nash built for himself at East Cowes Castle, Isle of Wight.

Today, Shane’s Castle plays home to one of the finest collections of Camelias in the United Kingdom. Nowadays, they are over 100 years old. Multiple series from the popular television show, Game of Thrones, have been filmed at this very castle.

You may enjoy reading about other Irish Castles such as Portumna Castle.

Shane’s Castle Timeline

  • 1345- The castle is built by a member of the Clandeboy O’Neill dynasty
  • 1596- An early account of the rebellion in Ulster states that “on the edge of Lough Neagh standeth a runiated pile called Edendow Carreck, which, being made wardable, could be converted into a store for provisioning Blackwater and Coleraine in case of sea storms.”
  • 1722- Shane McBrien O’Neill changes the name to Shane’s Castle
  • 1798- Earl O’Neill succeeds his father and went forth and entrusted his ideas for a further expansion of the castle with a grand architect known as Nash
  • 1816- Only the terrace and conservatory at the castle had been completed when the main block of Shane’s Castle is, once again, destroyed by fire

Shane’s Castle facts

  • The castle has been destroyed by fire twice
  • The castle was previously known as Edenduffcarrick
  • Shane’s Castle plays home to one of the finest collections of Camelias in the United Kingdom
  • The castle was built by the same architect who built Regent Street, Regent’s Park, Carlton House Terrace, and Buckingham Palace
  • The popular television show, Game of Thrones was filmed here

Featured in TV and film

  • Game of Thrones (2011)

Who owns Shane’s Castle?

Shane McBrien O’Neill received the castle and changed the name to Shane’s Castle in 1722. The O’Neill family still own the castle to this day.

Tourism

As the castle is privately owned, you cannot visit whenever you please. However, from April to September, the owners accept visits by appointment only. If you email or call ahead with plenty of time, you can book the castle for private parties, and special and corporate events.

Nearby, you can visit Dunluce Castle, Giant’s Causeway, Whitehead Railway Museum, and Blackhead Path.

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