Carlingford Brewing Company
The Old Mill
County Louth
A91 D850



King John's Castle towers over the town of Carlingford, on the southern shores of Carlingford Lough. It was commissioned by the Norman, Hugh de Lacy in the 1180s. Its name relates to King John (brother of Richard the Lionheart) who visited in 1210.

The original castle consisted of an enclosed courtyard with two rectangular towers at the entrance and two storey buildings within. The eastern half of the castle was added in 1261 and included a number of rooms and probably a great hall. There were a number of alterations made to the castle over the centuries.

The tower house was constructed in two phases, with the older portion completed in the early 16th century. The annex was most likely built around 50 years later to provide more living accommodation.

The formidable castle appears to have remained in English hands during the post-medieval period. Hugh O'Neill, Earl of Tyrone, tried to take it in a surprise attack in 1596 and the fortress changed hands several times over the following centuries. In 1689 it was fired upon by retreating Jacobite forces and later used as a hospital by General Schomberg during the period leading up to the Battle of the Boyne.

You currently can't access the interior of this dramatic fortress for safety reasons. However, the exterior offers stunning views across the Lough towards the Mourne Mountains.

Its legacy also lives on in our King John's Stout.

Background: Rowan Quinn Photography