An historic moment with Galgorm Castle playing host to the island of Ireland’s national Open for the first time. The 2020 staging was the fourth time the Irish Open was played in Northern Ireland since 2012 when Royal Portrush became the first course north of the border to host the tournament since 1953. Now Galgorm joins Royal Portrush, Royal County Down and Portstewart as recent hosts. American John Catlin won the 2020 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open.
In 2020 the Northern Ireland Open supported by The R&A returned to Galgorm amid the Coronavirus pandemic. The event was only made possble by the key support from the R&A, event partners and the vision from the European Challenge Tour. Tyler Koivisto made it an American double at Galgorm in 2020 by securing his first professional win at the Balleymena venue.
An innovative first of its kind event in Europe where men and women professionals compete for equal prize money at the same venue at the same time. The World Invitational is an integral part of tournament golf at Galgorm.
The Fun Golf Area is a stunning addition to the Galgorm offering where all members of the family, young and old, can enjoy playing on the six-hole par-three short course and Himalayas Putting Green.
The Ivory Pavilion at Galgorm is an established wedding and events venue of unique distinction, situated in the grounds of the historic Galgorm Castle. Nestled within the Castle’s delightful walled garden and just 40-minutes from Belfast, it’s a fabulous venue and a magnificent setting for weddings, events and corporate functions.
Galgorm Castle became a highly sought after location for big and silver screen productions. In 2015 The Frankenstein Chronicles were filmed on site and took full advantage of the spectacular Jacobean Castle, while Morgan, an American sci-fi thriller used Galgorm for part of its filming in 2015.
Phase II of the Courtyard Business Park at Galgorm was completed in 2015 to provide state-of-the-art, competitively priced units, ranging from 500sqft to 10,000sqft with flexible configurations to meet individual business requirements.
Creative Gardens officially opened at Galgorm in February 2014 as part of the estate’s £8million investment programme.
In 2013, Galgorm's clubhouse was extended and refurbished. Lockerrooms and changing facilities extended, while new ground floor and first floor terraces were added to allow members and visitors to enjoy meals and drinks ‘al fresco’.
The first Northern Ireland took place on the development PGA EuroPro Tour before progressing to the European Challenge Tour in 2013. Galgorm is the home of the NI Open and has set all attendance records on the Challenge Tour’s international schedule. The 2020 event was supported by The R&A, the game’s governing body.
In 1997 Galgorm Castle Golf Club opened the Simon Gidman desaigned championship course for the first time.
The courtyard as Galgorm was transformed into a thriving business centre, consisting of 18 offices, totalling 10,500 square feet. At the time it won RICS and Civic Trust Awards and continues to go from strength to strength today. The Courtyard Business Park is typically fully let with international and local business tenants.
For most of the 20th Century the estate fell into disrepair primarily because the Youngs, who bought the estate from the Earl of Mountcashal after he gambled his money away, then lost all their money when the linen industry crashed. However, from 1980 things started to look up when regeneration and redevelopment started at Galgorm.
The Youngs, affluent linen merchants, bought the estate in 1850 and their cousin Sir Roger Casment lived at Galgorm for six years while he was at Ballymena Academy.
During the 1798 rebellion, Ballymena was occupied by 10,000 United Irishmen who stormed the Market House and killed three people. However, they could not breach the castle’s defences but they burned the adjacent chapel.
The Duke of Wurttemberg-Neuenstadt, who commanded the Danish Troops for William of Orange at the Battle of the Boyne, used Galgorm Castle as his headquarters in 1690. Carrying a bullet in his lungs since the siege of Negroponte, he was awarded the Order of the Elephant and died of catarrh soon afterwards.
Known for turning a quick buck, Sir Faithless Fortescue sold the estate to Dr Alexander Colville who, as legend has it, was an alchemist and was reputed to have sold his soul to the devil for gold and knowledge. Records suggest that the good doctor was in residence in 1640.
Sir Faithful Fortescue (b. 1585) was the nephew of Sir Arthur Chichester. He might have been better named Sir Faithless Fortescue for his habit of being particularly sharp in his dealings. He tricked Rory Og McQuillan out of several estates and began building Galgorm Castle in 1618.
Galgorm Castle, one of the finest examples of Jacobean architecture in Ireland, has a rich and colourful history. The estate consisted of 245 acres. Many of the buildings are listed; including the castle, courtyard, a cottage on the Sourhill Road and the roundhouse.
On May 10th 1607, King James I granted the Ballymena Estate to Rory Og McQuillan, a mighty warrior, famous for stating that 'No Captain of this race ever died in his bed', which thankfully means Galgorm has one less ghost!