Ballygally Castle Hotel located on the Antrim coast is hard to beat in the ‘beautiful location’ stakes. This old 17th Century Castle is now a comfortable Hastings Group hotel with forty-four well-appointed en-suite bedrooms. The fascinating thing here is the history! If you are a bit of a ghost hunter or fancy your chances at becoming one – there's no finer place to stay.
The original castle and tower dates back to 1625. Built by Scotsman Lord James Shaw and his wife Lady Isabella Shaw. Their initials are inscripted in stone at the tower entrance inside the hotel, along with the motto ‘GODS PRIVDENS IS MY INHERITANS’. Through the centuries, the castle was used as a refuge for Protestants in the Civil War of 1641, and as a fortress in the middle of the 18th Century.
Lady Isabella Shaw is the real reason this castle is so famous with supernatural groups and tours. She is The Ghost of Ballygally, and a bedroom for her is preserved in its simplicity at the top of the Ghost Tower. Two theories seem to be possible as to why her presence remains. One says that when she delivered a son for her cruel husband, he took his heir away and locked Lady Isabella at the top of the tower, from where she may have fallen to her death in a desperate bid to escape and retrieve her baby. The other is that he pushed her off the tower when he got what he wanted! Some guests have seen or felt her presence – she’s very friendly apparently!
Ballygally Castle Hotel Manager Norman McBride is a perfect guide for the Ghost Tower. Such is the devilment of his humour, he will tease and scare the living daylights out of you! The Ghost Room is adorned with simple iron bed, a washstand and a portrait of Lady Isabella on the wall.
The tower has several guest bedrooms with period features. Room 1625, is an atmospheric space which can be used for meetings and intimate wedding parties or family gatherings. The medieval dungeons are available for private dining. Ballygally Castle Hotel's Bedrooms and suites have the touches of luxury you expect from Hastings establishments, some with beautiful Antrim seaviews.
After a peaceful night’s sleep – or ghost hunting - start the day with the breakfast buffet in The Garden Room. Porridge with Bushmill’s Whiskey, farmhouse Granola or Muesli, natural yogurt and fruit, or a cold meat and Irish cheese selection. Hot Buffet dishes include all the ingredients for a Full Irish. Ballygally Castle has access to the beach and surrounding countryside.
An inviting lobby area and check in desk leads onto the pleasant Lounge Room with logs ablaze in the fireplace. Great to sit here in the evening with an after dinner drink, or to enjoy a light bite or Afternoon Tea during the day. A fine sized bar area has stools and comfy chairs to relax in and look out over the sea. In the bar and lounge, a light bites menu operates. Wedding and special events take place in the stunning River Room with doors out to the garden and river.