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16 October 2014
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Kilwaughter Castle
near Larne

Kilwaughter Castle is in the hills about 3 miles S. W. of Larne. It's a ruin now but in its hey day was a magnificent building.

Kilwaughter Castle

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Article by Brian Willis

Ruins of Kilwaughter Castle
Ruins of Kilwaughter Castle

Kilwaughter Castle is in the hills about 3 miles S. W. of Larne. It's a ruin now but in its hey day was a magnificent building. It was built by John Nash (1752-1835) about 1803 for the Agnew family. Nash is the same man who later built Regent's Street in London, and who also incidentally built Killymoon Castle in 1802 at Cookstown. There are some similarities between the two great houses. A few years later, in 1806, Nash became the "Architect to the Department of Woods and Forests", where he was also in charge of Regent's Park in London. (busy man)

Plaque on wall of National School
Plaque on wall of National School
The Countess

Squire Agnew had a daughter (Georgina?) who went to Italy where she married a Count. When she returned to Kilwaughter as Countess Balzani, she established two schools for the area, one of which has since been turned into two private houses. The plaque still exists above the house door.

Ruined entrance to Kilwaughter Castle
Ruined entrance to Kilwaughter Castle
Army Billets.

Soldiers occupied Kilwaughter Castle in the 1940's including, from Jan until May '44, members of the American 644th T.D. (Tank Detroyer) Battalion preparing for D-day.

The Castle remained unoccupied from that time onwards and gradually fell into the ruinous state it is now. As can be seen, the roof (part of which was originally sheathed with just sand and tar) has collapsed, as have the floors.

Goats now graze the ground floor.

Kilwaughter Castle is privately owned and is not open to the public.

A special notice from Anne Ferguson, who along with her father, owns Kilwaughter Castle:

As the daughter of the owner of Kilwaughter Castle, my father and I note with interest some of the recent comments on the YPAM article. There appears to be a good deal of local and overseas interest, and we are keen to follow up on setting up an historical society for the castle. We would like to contact Dr S C Lanier in particular (comments posted Feb 07), and any others.

Contact Anne directly at

Read about the history of the 644th Tank Destroyer Battalion which was billeted at the castle in May 1944.

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Lynden Turner - Feb '07
I am not a descendant of the Agnews, but am VERY interested in their family tree/history. I have in my possession the LAST WILL AND TESAMENT OF JAMES AGNEW OF LARNE dated 1783... I am not sure what anyone can do with this information. Please, feel free to contact me. Like I said, I am VERY interested in this family.



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