Olderfleet Castle

Olderfleet Castle is a four-storey tower house, the remains of which stand on Curran Point to the south of Larne Harbour. It is a State Care Historic Monument.

Location: Ship Street, Larne, BT40 1AY

Olderfleet Castle is a four-storey tower house, the remains of which stand on Curran Point to the south of Larne Harbour. It is a State Care Historic Monument. This is a unique and special place of historical importance and is protected under the Historic Monuments and Archaeological Objects (NI) Order 1995.

It is thought to have been built by a Scottish family called Bissett of Glenarm circa 1250, others say it was built by the Vikings some 300 years earlier!

Although the castle is known as Olderfleet Castle, perhaps due to the name Larne Lough was known to the Vikings; Ulfried’s Fjord, and through the years changed to Olderfleet; it is actually thought to be the remains of Curran Castle. The tower house was built in the 1500s.

An information plaque located on a stone near the gated entrance to the castle ruins reads,’

26 May 1315 – 14 October 1318
Edward Bruce 700

On 26th May 1315, Edward Bruce landed near Larne with a 6,000 strong Scottish army. A year earlier, his elder brother, Robert the Bruce, King of Scotland, had defeated the Anglo-Normans at the Battle of Bannockburn in Scotland. Their relatives, the O’Neills of Ulster, invited Robert and Edward to cross the narrow sea to forge an alliance and achieve the same in Ireland.

With the support of local chiefs, Edward Bruce was crowned King of Ireland at Carrickfergus and quickly took control of Ulster. The town served as Bruce’s headquarters throughout his three-and-a-half-year campaign. When the Anglo-Normans surrendered Carrickfergus Castle to the Scots, King Robert brought reinforcements from Scotland and the brothers marched south. The campaign ended in defeat when Edward was killed at the Battle of Faughart, near Dundalk, on 14 October 1318.

Larne Lough and the Bruce Landings

Bruce’s Army of battle hardened Scots left Ayr on 25 May 1315, carried in an armada of 300 ships. The next day, they landed at multiple points around Larne Lough and the Antrim Coast. Long standing family connections with Ulster meant that the area around Larne and Glenarm had been Bruce territory for over 100 years, so they had an easy landing before advancing south towards the Anglo-Norman stronghold of Carrickfergus. The original Olderfleet Castle stood here at that time.’

When Edward the Bruce invaded Ireland, he was welcomed by the Bisset’s at Curran Castle. As a result it was seized by the crown to guard against another Scottish invasion.

After changing ownership several times through the centuries, the castle was eventually purchased by James Chain in 1865, falling into ruin and remaining in its ruined state until it was given to the Ancient Monuments Division in 1938.
The remains of the Castle is a four-storey tower with gun loops in the basement.

The site is enclosed with a gate, there is a grassy area nearby where you could easily stop for a picnic. Parking access is a down a residential street, Ship Street. When parking please be mindful of local residents homes and access, and please do keep this protected monument clean and tidy.

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