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Carrickfergus castle

The royal history behind Prince William’s new Irish title

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Carrickfergus castle

Prince William's new title as Baron Carrickfergus ties the heir to a place that has been identified with the English crown for nearly a thousand years.

It was the place where William of Orange landed to begin his Protestant conquest of Ireland in 1689.

The epicenter of English royal power in Ulster until it was eclipsed by Belfast in the early 1700s, Carrickfergus, which means 'Rock of Fergus,' is Northern Ireland's oldest town, according to the BBC News.

The town was named in honour of Fergus Mac Eirc, a sixth century king of Dalriada, which straddled Ulster and Scotland. According to the legend, Fergus brought his coronation stone to Scotland from whence it was removed to Westminster Abbey, the scene of Will and Kate's wedding.

The town's great stone fortress was built in 1180 by John de Courcy, an Anglo-Norman knight, as the center of his Earldom of Ulster, making Carrickfergus the only English stronghold north of 'The Pale' in the Middle Ages.

In the 13th century, the castle was enlarged by Hugh de Lacyand and had a history of siege and military occupation.

It was captured by Edward Bruce in 1316, recaptured by the English and taken by General Schomberg for King William III who landed there in 1690.

The town was attacked in 1760 by the French under Admiral Thurot who held it for a week.

The castle served as a British military stronghold, armoury and prison from the late 18th century until World War II.

Locals are now excitedly looking forward to a visit by the royal couple. Jim McLurg the mayor stated “it is an extreme thrill to have this honor bestowed upon us.”
 

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