Castle Chichester Tower – Whitehead, Northern Ireland - Atlas Obscura
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Castle Chichester Tower

Whitehead, Northern Ireland

This tower once belonged to a castle fit for a knight.  

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The Castle Chichester in Whitehead was constructed around 1604 for an English Soldier known as Sir Moyses Hill. It was built as a fortification to help protect plantation settlers from the Native Irish and other marauders who wished to stake their claim over the Whitehead area. The Castle was crafted mainly from basalt boulders and repurposed brick stone. The structure stood three-stories high and provided a commanding view of the surrounding Belfast Lough and inland area.

Hill originally came to Ireland as a military officer with the Earl of Essex in 1573 to help suppress a rebellion by a Native Irish Clan under the name O’Neill. In 1617, Hill was appointed Provost Marshall of Ulster by Lord Chichester, which allowed him to purchase land near Carrickfergus. He even managed to acquire Kilwarlin Estate, now known as Hillsborough, and became Governor at Olderfleet Castle in Larne. He was knighted in 1603 and given the land and titles as a mark of gratitude for his services to the Crown. He later died at Hillhall near Lisburn in 1630 at the age of 77. 

By the middle of the 17th- century, a sizeable village was growing around the castle, with its own quay to conduct trade across Scotland and England. But as Whitehead started to develop during the 19th-century into a popular coastal tourist destination, the tower suffered from degradation and disrepair.

Today, the tower sits on private grounds next to Whitehead Methodist Church. It’s now a protected historic building and has recently undergone restoration to keep it looking its best.

Know Before You Go

The tower is on private grounds next to the Whitehead Congregational Church on Chester Avenue at the junction with Kings Road. There is free parking at Whitehead Promenade, Whitehead Train Station, and Castleview Road in Whitehead. Alternatively, you can take the train to the Whitehead Train Station and walk 5 minutes up Chester Avenue to the site's location.