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Title: Castlerock  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: County Londonderry, Portstewart, Mussenden Temple, 1993 Castlerock killings, Castlerock railway station
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Irish: Carraig Ceasail[1]

Castlerock, as seen from Castlerock beach in 2010
Castlerock is located in Northern Ireland
 Castlerock shown within Northern Ireland
Population 1,287 (2011)
Irish grid reference
District Causeway Coast and Glens
County County Londonderry
Country Northern Ireland
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district BT51
Dialling code 028
Police Northern Ireland
Fire Northern Ireland
Ambulance Northern Ireland
EU Parliament Northern Ireland
UK Parliament East Londonderry
NI Assembly East Londonderry
List of places
Northern Ireland
County Londonderry

Castlerock is a seaside village in County Londonderry, Northern Ireland. It is situated five miles west of Coleraine, and is very popular with summer tourists, having numerous apartment blocks and three caravan sites. Castlerock Golf Club has both 9 and 18-hole links courses bounded by the beach, the River Bann and the Belfast to Derry railway line. The village had a recorded population of 1,287 people in the 2011 Census, and currently has a popular local football team called Villagers FC.


  • History 1
  • Education 2
  • People 3
  • Transport 4
  • 2001 Census 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7


The Earl-Bishop

Local historical interest is concentrated on the 18th century Bishop of Derry's ruined palace, the Mussenden Temple on the clifftop, and the Black Glen set within the Downhill Estate, which is now owned by the National Trust. The palace and estate were created by Frederick Hervey, 4th Earl of Bristol who was the Bishop of Derry in the 1780s. The Mussenden Temple, with its precarious perch on the basalt cliff edge is one of the most photographed scenes in Ireland.

The 17th century Hezlett House is a thatched cottage with a cruck structure and is situated at the crossroads near the village. Built around 1691,[2] it was originally a rectory or farmhouse.[3] Also at the adjacent crossroads is an ancient tree.

The bodies of the two victims of infamous dentist Colin Howell were found in Castlerock on May 19, 1991.[4]

Castlerock was relatively untouched by the Troubles, with only one fatal incident occurring in or near the village as part of the conflict. The "Castlerock killings" took place in March 1993, when four men were shot dead by a group calling itself "Ulster Freedom Fighters", a covername used by the Ulster Defence Association (UDA).[5] One of the men convicted for the murders was Coleraine loyalist Torrens Knight.[6]

Castlerock is also home to Guysmere Summer Camp, which is owned and run by the Presbyterian Church.


  • Hezlett Primary School
  • Ballyhacket Primary School


The actor James Nesbitt lived in Castlerock as a teenager.

The village was also the holiday destination for the famous author C. S. Lewis. Born in Belfast, he holidayed in Castlerock as a child and took inspiration from Downhill House for some of his books including The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

Nansy Bryson, from Castlerock, was a passenger on the ill-fated MV Princess Victoria ferry which sank on the Stranraer to Larne route in heavy seas on 31 January 1953 with the loss of 133 passengers. A missionary, she had been at a meeting in Scotland and was returning home when the ship started to flounder. Survivors described how she helped children into lifeboats and sang hymns before being swept into the sea herself where she drowned. She has been described as the "heroine of the Princess Victoria".[7]


Castlerock railway station opened on 18 July 1853.[8] Northern Ireland Railways currently run a mostly bi-hourly service in both directions (west to Londonderry Waterside or east to Coleraine and onward to Belfast Central and Belfast Great Victoria Street) on weekdays, with reduced service on Saturdays, and only five trains each way on Sunday.[9] Ulsterbus services tend to coincide roughly with the times of the railway service and proceed either west towards Limavady[10] or east to Coleraine.[11]

2001 Census

Castlerock is classified as a village by the NI Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) (i.e. with population between 1,000 and 2,250 people). On Census day (29 April 2001) there were 1,326 people living in Castlerock. Of these:

  • 22.2% were aged under 16 and 22.3% were aged 60 and over
  • 46.6% of the population were male and 53.4% were female
  • 14.5% were from a Catholic background and 82.3% were from a Protestant background
  • 3.4% of people aged 16–74 were unemployed.

For more details see: NI Neighbourhood Information Service

See also


  1. ^ Logainm Places Names Database - Castlerock
  2. ^ Eccles J 1996, Downhill: A Scrapbook of People and Place, London, Printing Ideas & Graphics, p 184
  3. ^ Eccles J 1996
  4. ^ How evil dentist killed his wife and lover's husband Coleraine Times
  5. ^ Chronology of the Conflict: March 1993, CAIN
  6. ^ Freed Ulster killer 'paid £50,000 salary for being police informer
  7. ^ Princess Victoria sinking remembered 60 years ago. BBC, Retrieved 2013-3-30
  8. ^ "Castlerock station" (PDF). Railscot - Irish Railways. Retrieved 2007-08-30. 
  9. ^ "Londonderry line timetable" (PDF). Northern Ireland Railways. Retrieved 2010-08-20. 
  10. ^ "Coleraine-Limavady service timetable". Ulsterbus. Retrieved 2010-08-20. 
  11. ^ "Limavady-Coleraine service timetable". Ulsterbus. Retrieved 2010-08-20. 
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