County Louth is home to an atmospheric landmark, King John's Castle, on the southern shores of Carlingford Lough. Built by Hugh de Lacy, this dramatic fortress offers stunning views across the Lough towards the Mourne Mountains and legend has it that King John stayed here for three days in 1210 AD.
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 AD 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 and was owned by the Earl of Carlingford, Nicholas Taaffe.
King John's Castle appears to have remained in English hands during the post-medieval period. Hugh O'Neill, Earl of Tyrone, tried to take the castle in a surprise attack in 1596 and the fortress changed hands several times over the following centuries. It also functioned as a hospital during the period leading up to the Battle of the Boyne. Visit this formidable fortress to see an authentic piece of Irish history.