Fire sparks a fresh appeal to save Kilwaughter Castle

Fire crews in attendance at Kilwaughter Castle.  INLT 36-680-CON

Fire crews in attendance at Kilwaughter Castle. INLT 36-680-CON

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Renewed calls have been made to save a derelict and dilapidated Larne mansion, following a fire at the premises.

Kilwaughter Castle, a once-grand and regal building, has lain abandoned for over half a century and is in a state of extreme disrepair.

A small number of local campaigners known as Kilwaughter Castle Restoration Group are on a mission to salvage the decaying building and preserve what is left of its former magnificence.

However, campaigner Anne Ferguson, whose father Frank Ferguson currently owns the premises, voiced her concern for the future of the site after a fire was discovered at the ruin on Sunday, August 30.

She told the Times: “I happened to be visiting the site when I noticed smouldering rubbish in the walls of the ruined castle. I attempted to put water on the embers, and the fire flared up again, so I contacted 999 for assistance.

“Dumping of rubbish and reckless damage to a listed building is putting the castle at further risk of deterioration.

“There is a huge amount of community interest in this important building and discussions are underway with various heritage bodies and the local council.

“It is hoped that there will be exhibitions arranged in Larne soon, and a picnic day open to the public.”

Built over 200 years ago by architect John Nash, the mansion is now nothing more than a broken shell that has been abandoned to the elements.

Campaigners are using social media to highlight the plight of the castle, with a dedicated Facebook page being set up, entitled ‘Save Kilwaughter Castle and Graveyard’.