Featured image of Kirkistown Castle

The History of Kirkistown Castle

LocationCloughey, County Down, Northern Ireland (Google Map)
Open for VisitorsYes
Owned ByNorthern Ireland Environment Agency 
Official WebsiteKirkistown Castle
Rooms AvailableNo

Kirkistown Castle is located in Cloughey, a small village near Portavogie. The castle measures to be 6,200 yards in length. The location is now used as a Golf Course and gives the overall old-school and authentic vibes that will make you curious to learn about its history.


Kirkistown Castle is filled with history and is a must-visit place if you are planning to explore Northern Ireland. It was built in 1622 by Roland Savage of Ballygalget; however, the date of construction has seen much debate recently. We can still ensure that it remained with the Savage family until the 1660s, and they transformed it into a three-storey tower house.

Later after a few years, they sold the castle to Captain James McGill, Ballyministragh, near Killinchy, who married Jean Bailie of Inishargy and lived in the castle for years. James McGill improved the castle to a huge extent and erected a nearby windmill. Unfortunately, he died in 1683, but he wrote a will in 1655, giving the castle to Captain Hugh McGill.

Captain Hugh McGill’s daughter, Lucy McGill, was born in 1685 and she was married to William Savage of Audleystown and Kirkistown. She died in 1733. Meanwhile, a lot of construction work took place in the castle.

In the early 1800s, Kirkistown Castle became a residence of Mary, McGill’s granddaughter. She married William Montgomery of Greyabbey. At the time, when she was living in the castle, it was in very poor condition, and William Montgomery suggested refurbishment of the place. However, after his death, the overall refurbishments work was left incomplete.

In 1840, Mary, Montgomery’s Widow, granted permission to Cloughey Presbyterian Congregation to use the castle so that it could get a little bit better. It is unclear what happened to the castle later, but in 1875, it was returned to the former owner. Finally, the castle was sold to the Brown family and passed to the state. Now, Kirkistown Castle is a state care monument used as a Golf Course and for event organizing purposes.


Kirkistown Castle had many owners, and each of them left their impact on its architecture. Overall, this castle is a state care monument with a large yard. It is a three-storey tower house with an overall enclosed design. It stands on the eastern shores of the Ards Peninsula and offers an amazing view of the Irish Sea.

The castle has a combination of English and Scottish architecture. The west of the castle is filled with planters that enhance its glory. The tower house is an overall tall building with single floors connected to other divisions of the space, which is commonly seen in late-medieval home styles.

There is a spiral staircase on the ground floor that connects each floor and adds functionality to the place. The wide windows in the castle change the overall internal atmosphere and make it airier. And the two iron braces were added to the walls to halt movement. If you want to experience clean air and peacefulness, Kirkistown Castle is a must-visit.

Have you visited this 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.

One comment

  1. Hope to visit as Capt. Roland Savage was my 8th great-grandfather. (Mary Margaret LeCato Hyslop)

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