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Historic Building Details

HB Ref No:
HB20/04/042 C

Extent of Listing:
Former eightteenth century and earlier castle remains including service tunnel and entrance to tunnel.

Date of Construction:
Pre 1600

Address :
Shane's Castle ruins Shane's Castle Park Antrim Co Antrim

Shane's Castle Park

Survey 2:

Date of Listing:
10/10/1984 00:00:00

Date of De-listing:

Current Use:
Country House

Former Use
Country House

Conservation Area:

Industrial Archaeology:





OS Map No:

IG Ref:
J1163 8798

Owner Category


Exterior Description And Setting

The remains of a 3-storey castellated house dating from the 18th century but incorporating earlier phases of building, and now consisting of two ruinous shells, which formed the wings of the house, standing approximately north and south of each other, and approximately 23 metres apart. Built of random rubble basalt and brick, partly harled. The western end of each wing is circular and the eastern end rectangular. Almost all of the original long connecting walls to east and west between the wings is now missing. WING TO NORTH: West elevation formed by the circular bay, of three storeys, open at the rear, built of galletted random rubble basalt, partly harled, with crenellations to the parapet which rises from a slightly projecting brick corbel course. There is a cut sandstone open doorway in the ground floor, consisting of a semi-circular arch flanked by panelled pilasters rising to a broken triangular pediment, with moulded cornices. Each floor has a window, semi-circular arched in brick, with moulded sandstone cills projecting. There are similar semi-circular arched openings in the north and south sides of the circular bay. At base of circular tower on north side is a red brick segmental relieving arch positioned directly over the underground service tunnel but there is no relieving arch on the south side of the tower where it is directly over the tunnel, where flues rise within the tower. North elevation, to left of circular end bay consists of a slightly battered wall built in two sections with the vertical joint between them now visibly open at the top. The portion to the right of the join, the return wall of the circular bay, is one window wide: openings are flat arched in brick, with cills as previous. The portion to the left of the join is two windows wide: openings are segmental arched in brick, with cills as previous. East elevation is one window wide, with segmental arched openings in brick, as previous. Inside faces of north wing are of rubble masonry to the east end wall, and to the eastern two bays of the north wall, with red brick lining to the bay of the north wall next to the circular tower; the circular tower or bay is also lined with brick; some portions of plaster remaining on brick lining. The circular tower contains three semi-circular arched niches in the inside with doorways between; also a stack of three fireplaces at the south corner of the tower. WING TO SOUTH: Consists of a complete circular tower rising from basement level on the south side and part of the west, with open rectangular walling of what appears to be different periods of building, connected to the east and rising from basement level on the south and east sides and forming a square tower-like bay to the east. West elevation of circular tower: of three storeys, built of random rubble basalt, partly harled, with a crenellated parapet similar to tower of north wing; semi-circular brick arched window openings of similar size to those of north wing but jambs also of brick; some remnants of cut-stone cills as previous, but no cut-stone doorway. On the north side of the circular tower, the scant and featureless remains of a storey-high wing wall of basalt rubble remain, projecting to the north, with a detached lower portion standing north of that. At rear of circular tower the outer layer of rubble stonework stops to reveal a later pair of twin stilted semi-circular arches in red brick with basalt rubble to the common pier, probably a later repair to prevent the ruin from collapse; brickwork lining continuous around the interior; inner surfaces of tower contain a fireplace at each level, that at the first floor retaining a damaged rectangular cut-stone surround. South elevation: circular tower is abutted to the right at the right-hand jamb of the window openings by a short straight return wall which is linked to a rectangular bay projecting forward at the east end of the wing. Return wall is of basalt rubble, crenellated at the top, one window wide, and contains four small windows; windows are roughly segmental arched with rough stone voussoirs; a basement doorway off-centre below is segmental arched with rough stone voussoirs with a later segmental brick arch immediately below it; doorway blocked up and finished with smooth cement render. Rectangular tower-like bay to east is of basalt rubble, of three storeys and a basement, harled to the short projecting west side; crenellations missing. Openings are brick segmental arched, with remnants of moulded sandstone cills; openings centrally placed except for that of ground floor which is off-centre and partly blocked up with rubble. Base of wall is abutted by a later brick vaulted compartment dating from the early 19th century additions. East elevation consists of the rectangular tower-like bay to the left with a portion of blank walling set back to the right. Right-hand corner of projecting bay is battered. East face of rectangular tower-like bay is of similar walling to its south side except it retains remnants of crenellations, is partly harled, and incorporates some sandstone quoins to the right-hand corner; one of them bears a carved human head known as Edenduffcarrick or 'the black face of stone'. One window opening to each floor similar to those of south side; flat arched off-centre opening to basement now blocked and smooth cement rendered. The blank walling set back to the right is of basalt rubble, partly harled, with crenellations now missing: built in two phases with the junction between them visible where the portion extending to the north retains dressed sandstone quoins now abutted by later walling on the left. The junction inclines to the north showing the batter of the wall to that end. The end wall at the north is also comparatively thick, of masonry throughout except for later internal lining of brick in parts. Inner faces of the rectangular walls are of basalt rubble but with some brick lining; also some modern red brick repairs, including angled brickwork supported on timber beams between the circular tower and its short linking return wall to the projecting rectangular bay. Interior space of basement area much filled with masonry debris and scrub. SETTING: The building stands in a very rural area, within its own well wooded demesne, on sloping grassland close to the shore of Lough Neagh. To the south and connected to it stands a complex of other important architectural structures, namely a battery and terrace (HB20/04/043), unfinished castle-style additions to the house (HB20/04/041), and a conservatory known as the Camellia House (HB20/04/042). Immediately to the south-west of the south wing is an open basement area containing the remains of angled walls, probably the kitchen area of the original house; while at the base of the circular tower of the south wing is an arched underground entrance outside it leading from this open basement court into a vaulted service tunnel which follows the curve of the tower until it branches off along the outside of what was the west face of the house and continues directly underneath the circular bay of the north wing to emerge alongside the old private burial ground; tunnel lit by metal barred light wells at intervals along its length.


Not Known

Historical Information

CONCISE BUILDING HISTORY These are the ruins of the ancestral residence of the O'Neills of Shane's Castle, built in stages, with no certainty about the precise year that any portion can be dated to, but possibly incorporating a late 15th or 16th century core, extended in the 17th century, and greatly enlarged during the course of the 18th century to achieve its penultimate form as a large castellated country house, before being reduced to ruins in a fire in 1816. In its completed state the 18th century house consisted of 3 storeys over a basement, with a battlemented parapet and hipped roofs, projecting circular end bays to the west front, and projecting rectangular end bays to the east front with a central curved bay between them; the principal facades sat at right angles to the waters edge. The building has been scheduled as an ancient monument, no.ANT49:29. EARLY CHRONOLOGY OF THE SITE The known early chronology of the site (originally known as Edenduffcarrick, an Anglicisation of the Irish 'Eden dubh Cairrige') is as follows: in 1470 there was a reference in the Annals of Ulster to Edenduffcarrick as the town of Conn, son of Hugh Boy O'Neill; in 1490 there was the first reference to a castle or fort at Edenduffcarrick, which was attacked and demolished; in 1535 there was a reference to a castle here, presumably that of 1490 either repaired or rebuilt, being attacked by the O'Neills of Tyrone. From the 1580s it was associated with Shane McBrian O'Neill of the O'Neills of Clanaboy: following serious family differences respecting the heirship to the estates, Edenduffcarrick was given to Shane MacBrian O'Neill temporarily but soon afterwards taken back by the government, then taken again by Shane in 1597, only for the castle to be attacked and burned later that same year by Sir Arthur Chichester; this episode was concluded with the castle being finally granted to Shane MacBrian O'Neill in 1606. It was he who appears to have given the castle its present name, as he appeared in 1613 on the Roll of Parliament of James I as 'Shane McBrien O'Neill, of Shane's Castle'. Nothing has been recorded during the course of the 17th century although the Ordnance Survey Memoirs in the 1830s recounts a tradition in the neighbourhood that it was Rose O'Neill who enlarged the old building and "raised it to its present size"; Rose O'Neill, grand-daughter of Shane MacBrian O'Neill inherited the property in 1638 and died in 1695. She may indeed have been responsible for some enlargement in the second half of the 17th century but not for all that comprised the castle's 'present size' in the 1830s. THE 18TH CENTURY COUNTRY HOUSE In a painting of the first half of the 18th century Shane's Castle is shown as a large castellated country house comprising a 4 to 5-storey circular and square tower-house-like block, with a symmetrical 3-storey block added to it to the north, and what appeared to be a main entrance doorway in a central bow on the east front. The main bulk of this 3-storey block could have been added in the late 17th century by Rose O'Neill or could be later, from the early 18th century. By the late 18th century, in two other paintings, which incidentally show a disparity in the number of storeys, and no entrance shown in the curved bow in the east front in one of them, Shane's Castle is shown with the symmetrical block having gained rectangular projecting end bays, the one to the left having obscured the earlier square tower-house-like portion: this appears to show that the portion of the old castle popularly believed today to be the oldest, and identified on site as such by a sign stating it to be a "16th century tower house" and "the earliest building on the site", is actually wrong as that portion is clearly shown to be an 18th century addition. It would appear therefore that the stone bearing a carved face known as Edenduffcarrick or 'the black face of stone', which has an appearance of some antiquity, and which is built into the outside of the eastern wall of the south wing was brought from somewhere else and placed in that position in the 18th century. The late 18th century paintings also show that a terrace and conservatory were added on the south side of the house, next to the lough, during the second half of that century. These were noticed by a visitor in 1793, Thomas Milton, who wrote: "the water formerly washed the walls of the castle, but within these years an embankment was made, on which is built a Green House, the Castle Wall forming one side and the Glass projecting into the lake on the other." This 18th century conservatory and terrace, were later removed when the early 19th century additions designed by John Nash were built. One other feature of the 18th century house, no longer to be seen on the ruins but still in existence having been removed to the outbuildings, was a sculptured coat of arms "said to have been erected over one of the principal entrances of the castle" according to the Ordnance Survey Memoirs in the 1830s. The precise layout of the house in the 18th century is not known: in the 1830s the Ordnance Survey Memoirs noted that, following the fire of 1816, "none of the floors and only a small portion of a beautiful spiral stair of cut stone now remain", but they did not give the location of the stair. An impression of the interior was given by a visitor in 1787, Rev Daniel Beaufort (quoted in Bence-Jones in 1978), who described it as follows: "Drawing room adorned with magnificent mirrors, off breakfast room is rotunda coffee room, where in recesses are great qualities of china, a cistern with a cock and water, a boiler with another, all apparently for making breakfast; a letterbox and round table with four sets of pens and ink let in for everybody to write. Conservatory joins house, fine apartment along lough, at end alcove for meals, from it a way to hot and cold bathing apartments with painted windows. On other side of house, pretty and large theatre and magnificent ballroom 60 x 30 [feet], all of wood and canvas painted, and so sent ready made from London." Another visitor, Mrs Siddons in 1793 (quoted in Malins and The Knight of Glin in 1976) referred to a band of musicians, playing during dinner, being "stationed in the Corridor, which lead from the dining room into a fine Conservatory … where the waves of the superb Lake washed its feet." In the early 1800s John Nash was commissioned to enlarge the house by the addition of a suite of south facing rooms, including a new conservatory, linked to the south-east corner of the old house and extending on to a new terrace projecting out into Lough Neagh. The terrace and conservatory were completed but the south wing was only partly built when the main house was destroyed by an accidental fire on the 20th May 1816. The fire is reputed to have originated in a chimney in which rooks had built, in one of the bed or dressing rooms in the northern extremity of the castle. Following the fire the site was abandoned and Lord O'Neill set up residence in part of the offices and outbuildings standing some distance to the west. PROBLEMS IN THE HISTORIOGRAPHY OF SHANE'S CASTLE There has been uncertainty regarding the dating of Shane's Castle among historians and other observers over the years, and no real unanimity about the sequence of development as represented by the ruins that remain today: in 1806 Sir Richard Colt Hoare described it as "an old castle modernised, or rather a modern mansion attached to an old fort;" in the 1830s the Ordnance Survey Memoirs recounted "the vulgar tradition in the neighbourhood is that Shane's Castle had been originally a nunnery, but at what period is unknown … and that in the interval between the destruction of the nunnery and Rose O'Neill's becoming its proprietor [in 1638], that it had been a small strength or fortress belonging to the family". They also pointed out that "as to the date of its erection, nothing whatever can be locally ascertained, nor is it known who was its founder … It is said that all the ancient manuscripts of the family were destroyed at the burning of Shane's Castle on the 20th May 1816"; they observed at the time that the ruins of the castle had "the appearance of being those of a modern building" which "do not in their structure or masonry bear the stamp of antiquity", but they did observe, in relation to the wings, that "over the southern one are stacks of high brick chimneys similar in proportions to those of the Elizabethan style of architecture"; these chimneys are now missing from the building. Of more recent observers, Lawlor in 1928 considered that the date of the oldest part still standing, which he described as "the existing tower", "may be safely put down to between 1490 and 1535. It continued in use for over a century, when a more modern house was built"; later, the same authority, in 1940 (PSAMNI) suggested that "Shane MacBrian MacPhelim O'Neill apparently built the earliest of the stone castles now existing … distinguished amid the gaunt ruins of its successors as a square peel tower much like so many contemporary castles round Strangford"; with a further reference to the 'black head' on one of the quoins it is clear that Lawlor means here the projecting rectangular block of the south wing, which does not appear until the later of the two 18th century paintings. The UAHS in 1970, stated merely that "the first castle evolved around the Plantation house of Shane McBrian O'Neill in the early 17th century and was complete by 1780"; Barzilay in 1975 and Bence-Jones in 1978 have both perpetuated this view of a 17th century origin, with extensive 18th century additions. On the matter of the relief carved stone face which is built into the outside of the eastern wall of the south wing of the castle, and of whose actual history all writers are agreed nothing is known, Rev W.S. Smith in 1881 referred to "the tradition connected with it, to the effect that, when it falls, the O'Neill family will vanish from off the face of the earth"; Lawlor in 1928, claiming it to be known as 'the black head of the O'Neills', referred to the same tradition "carefully respected for at least the last 400 years", and thought it to have been "carried here by the O'Neills when they conquered south Antrim in the 14th century"; Lawlor again, in 1940, referred to it as "always an object of veneration in the family", and Barzilay in 1975 followed both Smith and Lawlor when he stated: "Tradition says that the family of O'Neill will come to an end if it falls. This stone is probably much older than the Castle itself". In the earliest description of it, however, the Ordnance Survey Memoirs in the 1830s, referring to it as Edenduffcarrick or "the black face of stone", stated emphatically "There is neither legend, tradition or history relating to this face. All that is known is its name and that that of the manor is taken from it." SUMMARY OF POSSIBLE DATES FOR PRESENT RUINS To summarise, it is possible that the short end wall at the north-east corner of the south wing is late 15th to early 16th century medieval work, but it could also be early 17th century or late 17th century; the circular tower of the south wing may be early 17th century, but with the addition of a twin-arcaded infill on the east side to prop up the ruin, which looks like a mid 19th century repair; the bulk of the main central rectangular block between the two circular towers, which has now disappeared, may have been late 17th century, or it may have been early 18th century; the projecting rectangular bay of the south wing is clearly from the mid to late 18th century as is the north wing including probably also its circular tower or bay and the underground tunnel below it which appears to be integral with it, whereas the tunnel skirts around the base of the circular tower of the south wing. The short remnants of wall projecting to the north of the southern circular tower, which formed part of the west wall of the main central rectangular late 17th or early 18th century block of the house, could date from earlier, from the early 17th century like the circular tower itself; the short wall projecting from the east side of the southern circular tower linking it with the projecting rectangular bay of the south wing, may also be from the early 17th century like the circular tower itself. The ruinous walls in the open basement area or courtyard to the west of the southern circular tower, presumably comprised the kitchens, and presumably date from the same time as the service tunnel leading round the southern circular tower, along the base of the west wall of the main house, and under the northern circular tower, that is from the early 18th century, but possibly from the late 17th century. OTHER DEVELOPMENTS IN THE DEMESNE Other developments elsewhere in the demesne, whether merely proposed or eventually carried out, were as follows: 1722, a burial vault was built in the burial ground to the north of the castle (HB20/04/044B); by the late 1700s, Deerpark Bridge built (HB20/04/047); 1801, Dunmore Bridge built (HB20/04/045); 1803-4, the village of Edenduffcarrick, which stood along the shore to the east of the castle, is said to have been cleared away, and the ground on which it stood, and also the 'high road' from Antrim to Randalstown which ran through it, added to the demesne, although a late 18th century painting suggests that these changes had been effected earlier, by 1780; by 1806 the main bulk of the outbuildings or offices was erected, to the west of the castle (HB20/04/040A and B); 1815, a design by the London architect John Papworth for a park entrance for Lord O'Neill was exhibited at the Royal Academy (but does not appear to have been built); by 1833, an intention to build a new castle, "if not on the ruins of the old one, on some spot in the immediate vicinity", was reported in the 'Dublin Penny Journal'; 1838, the boundary wall to the estate along the road from Antrim to Randalstown was started but the date when completed is not known; 1840, a design by the London architect Robert Lugar for a house for Earl O'Neill was exhibited at the Royal Academy (but not built); by 1841, a number of picturesque cottages and garden shelters had been built, but all except Ballealy Cottage (HB20/04/048) have now been demolished); c 1840s, four sets of entrance gateways and gate lodges erected (HB20/04/025, 033, 037, and 060); by 1858, Kynes Cottage (HB20/04/038), Poultry Cottages (HB20/04/039), and Turnpike House (HB20/04/061) built in the demesne; 1862-5, a new castle built, attached to the outbuildings, to the design of the architects Lanyon, Lynn and Lanyon, with billiard room added in 1901 to the design of W.H. Lynn (all burnt down in 1922 and the remains cleared away); c 1860s, Gothic arches erected in 'The Rockery' garden to the west of the castle (HB20/04/069); 1958, a new mansion built, attached to the outbuildings, to the design of the architect Arthur Jury, of Blackwood and Jury (HB20/04/057). 1971, the Shane's Castle Railway opened with a track laid from the Antrim Gate Lodge to the old castle ruins, and private station buildings at each end, but closed c 1990s; by 1988, a symbolic figure statue (HB20/04/044A), sculpted in the 1920s, erected in the disused burial ground. NOTES ON THE O'NEILL FAMILY The O'Neills are reputed to be oldest traceable dynastic family in Europe, having been authenticated as far back as the 4th century, their progenitor being Niall the Great, Monarch of Ireland, from whom the surname O'Neill derives. There were two main branches of the O'Neill family, the Tyrone and the Clanaboy, those of Shane's Castle belonging to the latter. In 1606 after a long and turbulent history, James I had finally settled the O'Neill estates on Shane MacBrian O'Neill, Lord of Clanaboy, who had made his peace with the English, and it was this Shane who gave his name to the 17th century fortress at Edenduffcarrick on the northern shore of Lough Neagh. Shane MacBrian O'Neill died in 1619, and was succeeded by his eldest son, Sir Henry O'Neill, who married the daughter of Sir Francis Stafford who had been Governor of Ulster in the reign of Elizabeth I. Sir Henry died in 1638 and was succeeded by one of his daughters, Rose; she was at one time Lady-in-waiting to Charles I's daughter, Princess Mary who had married the Prince of Orange and was living in Holland, and there Rose is reputed to have helped bring up Prince William of Orange, later King William III; later in life Rose married Randal, Marquis of Antrim, after whom she re-named the local town of Mullynierin, Randalstown. Rose O'Neill died in 1695, without children, and Shane's Castle passed to a distant relation, her cousin's nephew, Col Charles O'Neill. Col Charles O'Neill died in 1716, without children, and the estates then passed to another distant relation, John O'Neill, known as 'French John' as he had been educated in France. 'French John' O'Neill died in 1739 (and was interred in the vault he had built at Shane's Castle in 1722) , and was succeeded by his second son Charles. Charles O'Neill died in 1769, and was succeeded by his eldest son John who represented he county of Antrim for several years in the Irish Parliament, and was created Baron O'Neill, of Shane's Castle, in 1793 and later 1st Viscount O'Neill, in 1795; he was killed by insurgents at the Battle of Antrim in 1798, and was succeeded by his elder son Charles Henry St John O'Neill who took over the estates at the age of 19. Charles Henry St John O'Neill became 2nd Viscount Raymond and the 1st (and last) Earl O'Neill in 1800; he was also Lord Lieutenant of the County Antrim and Colonel of the Antrim Militia; he greatly improved the demesne of Shane's Castle and also commissioned John Nash to build additions to the castle; he died in 1841, unmarried, and was succeeded by his younger brother, John Bruce Richard O'Neill. Viscount John Bruce Richard O'Neill was a lieutenant-general in the army; he died in 1855, unmarried, and the estates passed to the Rev William Chichester, a descendant of Mary O'Neill grand-daughter of 'French John'. Rev William Chichester assumed the name of O'Neill by patent, and was created 1st Baron O'Neill in 1868; he was succeeded in 1883 by his son Edward Chichester, 2nd Lord Baron O'Neill. Edward died in 1928 and was succeeded by his grandson Shane, 3rd Lord O'Neill; he was killed in action in 1944 and was succeeded by his son Raymond who is the 4th and present holder of the title Lord O'Neill. References – Primary Sources 1. OS Map 1829 & 32, Co Antrim 49 (shows complete perimeter walls). 2. OS Map 1902, Co Antrim 49 (shows breaks in perimeter walls). 3. Thomas Milton, The seats and demesnes of the nobility and gentry of Ireland (London, 1783-1799) – quoted in Malins and The Knight of Glin (1976). 4. Sir Richard Colt Hoare, Journal of a tour in Ireland A.D. 1806 (London, 1807) - quoted in Malins and The Knight of Glin (1976). 5. Ordnance Survey Memoirs of Ireland, Vol 19: Parishes of County Antrim VI, 1830, 1833, 1835-8 (Belfast, 1993), p 35, 36, 47, 48, 49, 50, 63, 64, 67, 68, 81. 6. Dublin Penny Journal, Vol II, No 65, 28 Sept, 1833, pp 97-8. 7. S. Lewis, A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, Vol I (London, 1837), p 518. 8. Mr and Mrs S.C. Hall, Ireland: its Scenery, Character etc, Vol III (London, 1843), pp 103 - includes an engraved view from a drawing by A. Nicholl. 9. Original photographs in the Welch Collection, Ulster Museum(WO1/82/1-59). 10. Original paintings in possession of the owner in 2000 (two reproduced in Barzilay and in Malins and The Knight of Glin). Secondary Sources 1. Parliamentary Gazetteer of Ireland 1844-45, Vol III (Dublin, 1846), pp 214- 215. 2. J.A. Pilson, History of the rise and progress of Belfast, and Annals of the County Antrim (Belfast, 1846), pp 156-7. 3. J.B. Doyle, Tours in Ulster: a hand book to the antiquities and scenery of the north of Ireland (Dublin, 1854), pp 107-109. 4. Rev W.S. Smith, Shane's Castle – a sketch (Belfast, 1881), pp 6-12. 5. Rev J. O'Laverty, An Historical Account of the Diocese of Down and Connor, Ancient and Modern, Vol III (Dublin, 1884), pp 299-300 (includes a newspaper account of the fire in 1816). 6. G.H. Bassett, The Book of Antrim (Dublin, 1888), p 257. 7. A.P. Graves, The Royal Academy of Arts: Dictionary of Contributors (London, 1905), p 50 (catalogue no 928, House for Earl O'Neill, Co Antrim, Ireland, by R. Lugar, architect, 1840), and p 113 (catalogue no 824, A park entrance for Lord O'Neil [sic], Ireland, by John Papworth, architect, 1815). 8. R.M. Young, Belfast and the Province of Ulster in the 20th Century (Brighton, 1909), p 219. 9. H.C. Lawlor, Ulster: Its Archaeology and Antiquities (Belfast, 1928), p 153-5. 10. D.A. Chart, E.E. Evans, and H.C. Lawlor, a Preliminary Survey of Ancient Monuments of Northern Ireland (HMSO, Belfast, 1940), p 41. 11. Country Life, 18 August 1955 p 344. 12. UAHS, West Antrim (Belfast, 1970), pp 1 and 21. 13. D. Barzilay, Shane's Castle Railway and Nature Reserve: Official Guide (Antrim, 1975), pp 17-23. 14. E. Malins and The Knight of Glin, Lost Demesnes: Irish Landscape Gardening 1660-1845 (London, 1976), pp 80-2 (includes reproductions of paintings of the original Georgian house). 15. M. Bence-Jones, Burke's Guide to Country Houses, Vol 1: Ireland (London, 1978), pp 257-8. 16. A. Smyth, The Story of Antrim (Antrim, 1984), pp 91-95. 17. Northern Ireland Heritage Gardens Committee, Heritage Gardens Inventory (Belfast, 1992), AN/064.

Criteria for Listing

Architectural Interest

Not listed

Historic Interest

Not listed


These are the remains of the ancestral residence of the O'Neills of Shane's Castle, built in stages over a period of several centuries, but destroyed in a fire in 1816. The site is one of considerable archaeological and historic importance, with references recorded as far back as the 15th century, and within the ruinous fabric of the buildings that now stand are visible elements from probably the late medieval period and the 17th century, as well as the Georgian era. They enjoy an unspoiled setting within a well wooded demesne overlooking Lough Neagh, and together with associated structures, form part of a group of considerable architectural interest.

General Comments

This record was originally numbered as HB20/04/051.

Date of Survey

04 November 2000