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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Weir (Local Democracy Reporter)

Clockwork Garden and guided tours to mark centenary of fire at Antrim Castle Gardens

The centenary of a fire that destroyed Antrim Castle will be marked with a commemorative event later this year.

The ancestral home, also known as Massereene Castle, was gutted in a blaze on October 28, 1922.

Antrim Castle was built originally in 1613 by English settler, Sir Hugh Clotworthy. It was extended in 1662 by his son, John Clotworthy, the first Viscount of Massereene.

After his daughter Mary’s marriage to Sir John Skeffington who became the Second Viscount Massereene, the estate and title came to the Massereene family.

It was rebuilt in 1831 and for some time the castle was used for political conferences.

During a grand ball on October 28, 1922, the castle caught fire and was devastated by the blaze. However, the ruins were not demolished until 1970.

Antrim and Newtownabbey councillors were told at a meeting of the borough council earlier this week that an exhibition focusing on the castle and Massereene family is being developed for launch in October with guided walks and lectures in the castle grounds during the centenary anniversary being considered.

Meanwhile, the Clockwork Garden installation at Antrim Castle Gardens was created by celebrity gardener Diarmuid Gavin as a lasting legacy to mark this tragic event as well as well as to mark Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee and the return of Garden Show Ireland to the location.

The “Clockwork Garden” at Antrim Castle Gardens.

The permanent new attraction in Antrim Castle Gardens also marks the 10th anniversary of its refurbishment.

The Clockwork Garden sees the garden come to life with a mechanical performance every 15 minutes when trees  “dance” and other elements turn and move.

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