By a Long Stretch

The canal at Antrim Castle, County Antrim is laid out in two sections, the original (seen above, on the cusp of yet another recent storm) believed to date from either the late 17th or early 18th century: if the former, then it was the work of John Skeffington, second Viscount Massereene (died 1695), if the latter his son, Clotworthy Skeffington, the third Viscount. Approached by a yew walk, it is thirty feet wide and runs to 660 feet, a rare surviving example of the formal French-style gardens then in vogue. In the 19th century John Foster-Skeffington, tenth Viscount Massereene added an upper canal (below) the two lengths separated by a short cascade. A survey of Antrim conducted by James Boyle in the 1830s describes the water as being edged by a lime hedge of eighteen feet. Although the castle was gutted by fire in 1922 and later demolished, the gardens were restored some years ago by the local authority and are now a public park.


5 comments on “By a Long Stretch

  1. Wonderfully resonant name: Clotworthy Skeffington, Viscount Massareene! Puts one in mind of Marcel Proust’s paeans on evocative French family and place names.

  2. Finola says:

    Clotworthy? Seriously?

  3. […] small car park off the Randalstown Road and walked to The Long Canals (24) which I had read about here. Beyond the canals is a yew tree walk and in the far south corner are the remains of the Castle and […]

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