Carrickfergus Tourist Attractions
On the lough's north side, about halfway along (7mi/11km), is Carrickfergus (pop. 23,000), quite a considerable port before being displaced by Belfast.
Carrickfergus is noted for its excellently preserved Norman castle (military museum) perched on a spur of black basalt originally surrounded by water except on its north side. Intended for the defense of Belfast Lough, the castle was built between 1180 and 1205 by the Norman nobleman John de Courcy and was taken by King John in 1210 after a year long siege. The most notable features are the massive Keep (with a magnificent Norman Great Hall on the third floor and fine views from the top), the Gatehouse flanked by two towers and a number of cannon of the 16th to 19th centuries.
Carrickfergus Museum & Civic Centre
Carrickfergus Museum & Civic Centre presents displays from Medieval times to present day. The collection is highlighted through a range of media, including audio-visual presentations and hands-on interactives. The Gallery features exhibitions from touring museums and institutions.
Andrew Jackson (U.S. Rangers' Centre)
In Boneybefore, Carrickfergus is an exhibition devoted to the 1st battalion U.S. Rangers (1942). Next door is the Andrew Jackson Centre, dedicated to the United States' seventh president, "The People's President".
Lughnasa Medieval Fair
This annual weekend festival takes place in late July at the Castle of Carrickfergus. The festival includes traditional entertainment, food and craft stalls and medieval feasts.
This annual festival takes place during weekends in June. During the festival period, the Carrickfergus Castle is opened up to the public for medieval feasts, served by musicians and dancers in period costume.