On 10 May 1607, King James I granted the Ballymena Estate to Rory Og MacQuillan, 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).
Galgorm Castle, one of the finest examples of Jacobean architecture in Ireland, has a rich and colourful history. The estate consist of 245 acres.Its listed buildings include the castle, courtyard, a cottage on the Sourhill Road and roundhouse.
Sir Faithful Fortescue (b 1585) was the nephew of Sir Arthur Chichester – He might better have been named Sir Faithless Fortescue for his habit of being particularly sharp in his dealings tricked Rory Og Mcquillan out of estates and started to build Galgorm Castle in 1618.
Always known for turning a quick buck Sir Faithless sold the estate to the infamous Dr Alexander Colville who as legion has it was an alchemist and was reputed to have sold his soul to the devil for gold and knowledge. We know that the good doctor was in residence in 1640.
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.
The 1798 rebellion, saw Ballymena occupied by 10,000 United Irishmen, who stormed the Market House, killing three, but could not breach the castle’s defences, though they burnt the adjacent Chapel.
The Youngs, rich linen merchants bought the estate in 1850 and their cousin Sir Roger Casment lived here for six years while he was at Ballymena accademy.
For most of the 20th Century the estate gradually fell into disrepair primarily because the youngs who bought the estate from the Earl of mountcashal who gambled his money away lost all their money when the linen industry crashed. 1980 saw the start of the regeneration and redevelopment.
Transformation of the courtyard into a thriving business centre, consisting of 18 offices, totalling 10,500 square feet, which opened in 1993 and has won RICS and Civic Trust Awards. Always fully let, it draws international tenants and has a permanent waiting list.
In 1997 Galgorm Castle Golf Club opens it’s championship course for the first time.
The first Northern Ireland on the European Challenge Tour takes place at Galgorm Castle. The NI Open went on to set all attendance records on the Challenge Tour’s international schedule and in 2020 the event was also supported by The R&A, the game’s governing body.
In Summer 2013, work was completed on the Clubhouse Refurbishment and Extension. The extension expanded the locker rooms and changing facilities as well as creating ground floor and first floor terraces allowing our members and visitors to enjoy meals and drinks ‘al fresco’.
Creative Gardens at Galgorm Castle officially opened in February 2014, as part of Galgorm Castle Estate’s £8million investment programme across the Estate.
Phase 2 of the Courtyard Business Park was completed in 2015 offers state-of-the-art, competitively priced units, ranging from 500 sq ft to 10,000 sq ft with flexible configurations to meet individual requirements.
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 Castle for part of its filming in May 2015.
The Ivory Pavilion at Galgorm Castle is a brand new wedding and events venue of unique distinction, situated in the grounds of 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.
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.
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.
A truly historic moment with Galgorm playing host to the island of Ireland’s national Open for the first time. The 2020 staging is the fourth time the Irish Open has been 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.