OK, this was my favorite sight to see during our 2 week stay. It is exactly the sort of thing I picture when I think "castle". I like that it was basically the structure and you're not distracted by a lot of furniture. There are pieces here and there to help you figure out the rooms purpose, but you get a really good lesson in the history of the building by seeing the walls, floors and ceilings.
Take the guided tour, it adds tremendous value and you can putter about on your own afterward. Allow a couple of hours.
There is a very clear demarcation of the inner bailey (the first structures built), the middle bailey (added on later) and the outer bailey (the final construction phase). Among the things to see are a wonderful entry gate (with a murder hole), a tower keep, a small chapel, a spring fed well and an oubliette. This castle is literally on the sea, so take a jacket to compensate for the vigorous breezes. They have a very nice display of some weaponry of the period(s) including quite a few cannon from it's late occupancy.
If you can, take the train into Carrickfergus station, which is one of the most charming little stops I've ever seen. It's a half mile walk over some cobbled streets thru the town past some shops to get to the castle.
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