Featured image of Castlewellan Castle

The History of Castlewellan Castle

LocationCastlewellan, County Down, Northern Ireland (Google Map)
Open for VisitorsYes
Owned byForest Service Northern Ireland
Official WebsiteCastlewellan Castle
Rooms AvailableYes (Stay, conference, training events, and church weekends)

Castlewellan Castle is a beautiful and tranquil place in Northern Ireland. You must visit this castle if you are fond of lakes, mountains, flora, and peaceful vibes. This castle also includes the Christian conference centre, which one can use for conferences and training events. It could be your go-to place for youth weekend, school residential, or church retreat with breathtaking sceneries.

History of Castlewellan Castle

Castlewellan Castle, a famous Scottish Baronial Castle, was built between 1856 and 1858 by the Annesley family. The Scottish architect, William Burn, designed this castle under the 4th Earl Annesley’s order. Later, in 1874, the 4th Earl died unmarried, and the castle was passed to Hugh, 5th Earl Annesley. He totally enhanced the building.

In 1908, 5th Earl’s son- Francis 6th Earl Annesley, got control over the castle, but unfortunately, he died in the First World War in 1914. With his death, the Castlewellan estate was passed to his sister Lady Mabel and the earldom to his cousin Walter. After a few years, Gerald Francis Annesley (son of Lady Mabel) got control over the castle, but he sold it to the government.

The castle was left empty for ten years because the government was unsure what to do with it. However, in 1974, it became a famous Christian conference centre. Although many parts of the building were destroyed in the explosion, it got a considerable amount of voluntary help from various Christian firms that helped Castlewellan Castle look the way it is now.

Castlewellan Castle had many owners, and each of them was able to leave their impact on its architecture.


Castlewellan Castle is located near the entrance of Arboretum facing Castlewellan Lake. It is built on the old church’s site in the Scottish Baronial style from granite quarried from Ballymagreehan Quarry. Initially, the stone was bought for building the Statue of St. Patrick outside Downpatrick, but it turned out to become a part of the castle.

The castle also has a Grange yard that consists of three courtyards built in Queen Anne style. Earlier, these buildings were former farmyards and homes of Annesley. But in 1846, finally, the castle was built. Visitors can get the best lake and mountain views from the castle. It also contains a long lake, Annesley Garden, ponds, fountains, peace maze, and greenhouses filled with ornaments.

Since 1974, the castle has been used for Christian Conference Centre, but it is open for the guests and visitors who can use the space for their events or stay on the premises and enjoy the Scottish history of the place.

A beautiful view of Castlewellan Castle
CastleWellan”, by Paisley Scotland, is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Movie Features

  • Woman in White (2018): It is a drama, mystery, and thriller TV miniseries based on Wilkie Collin’s Mystery Novel, directed by Carl Tibbetts.
  • Mickybo and Me (2004): This movie will take you back to 1970, focusing on a friendship between two young boys, where one was protestant, and another was catholic.
  • Grace (2009): Grace Movie shooting took place in Castlewellan castle during summer 2014. It was a short film directed by Jack Walsh.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can you stay in Castlewellan Castle?

Yes, Castlewellan Castle offers rooms for overnight stays. Varieties of room options are available, where you can also notice a few ensuite family room availabilities. Additionally, you will find ballroom, downstairs lounge, and Courtyard lounge conference rooms, which you can use for events.

  • How long is Castlewellan Lake Walk?

The Castlewellan Lake walk is an approximately 2.4 miles loop trail rated as moderate. It provides a good view of Castlewellan Castle and Slievenaslaat. The trail near the lake is used for the activities like hiking, walking, mountain biking, and nature trips.

Have you visited this castle before? If yes, why not 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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