The name Carrickfergus comes from the Irish, Carraig Fhearghais – The Rock of Fergus, after Fergus (the 6th century king of Ulster) ran his ship aground on the rocks after returning from forming a kingdom in Scotland.
When John de Courcy invaded Ulster in the 12th Century he set up his headquarters at Carrickfergus, and built the castle in a prominent position looking out over the entrance to Belfast Lough. Since then, Carrickfergus Castle has been the focal point of several battles and sieges. However, it still remains as the best-preserved Norman castle in Ireland.
Today, the castle is fully accessible and provides lots of information about the history of the castle and the town, including a video presentation and guided tours (pre-booking required). Carrickfergus is only a one hour drive from the Giants Causeway and Ballylinny Cottages.