Killymoon Castle, Cookstown

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Killymoon castle is a grade A listed building designed by the famous John Nash who also designed Buckingham Palace! The castle was originally built in 1600 for James Stewart, six generations of the Stewarts lived in the castle until 1852. It was described in the Irish Penny Journal of 1841 ‘as one of the most aristocratic residences in the province of Ulster’.

The original castle, built in 1671 by James Stewart had been granted to him under the Plantation Settlement. Stewarts ancestors had come from Scotland during the plantation to settle in Cookstown, and in 1666 James bought the land lease for the castle site from Alan Cooke – the founder of Cookstown. The castle was destroyed by fire in 1801 and in 1802, Colonel William Stewart had a new, more imposing castle built, designed by John Nash, the famous London Architect.

Killymoon was Nash’s first castle in Ireland, and reputedly cost £80,000 to build (about £7.4 million today). It was described in the Irish Penny Journal of 1841 as “one of the most aristocratic residences in the province of Ulster”, with state apartments consisting of “a breakfast-parlour, dining room, ante-room and drawing-room, all of which are of noble proportions and their woodwork of polished oak”.

The Killymoon estate remained the property of the Stewart family for six generations; however, their extravagant lifestyle caused the Stewart family to fall on hard times, especially during the years of the Irish famine. The estate was sold in 1852 for £100,000. In 1857, the castle had again been sold to the Cooper family; and, in 1865, Colonel Bolton, an English gentleman, purchased the castle.

A mere ten years later, Mervyn Stuart Thomas Moutray JP, became the owner of Killymoon Castle until 1916, when Gerald Macura bought the castle and town of Cookstown for almost £100,000. By 1918, Macura was also in financial difficulties and was compelled to sell off his assets. John Coulter bought the castle and grounds in 1922 and it remains the home of the Coulter family to this day.

Killymoon’s Military History
Killymoon Castle was home to the 505 th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 82 nd Airborne Devision of the US Army from December 1943 to February 1944. Officers stayed in the Castle while Paratroopers were housed in Quonset huts. One such Paratrooper was 18 year old Tony Vickery affectionately known as the Milk Bar Commando. After parachuting into Normandy on D Day he survived just 5 days.
Visit our beautifully restored Officers bedroom complete with period furnishings, militaria and uniformed mannequins.

Beyond the Battle: Killymoon’s WWII All-American Tour
Step back in time with our authentic WW11 experience at Killymoon Castle, featuring living history characters who vividly recreate the life of one young American soldier, Tony Vickery, stationed at Killymoon during World War II. Tony’s personal touch, etched on the cellar walls before his departure for D-Day, becomes a poignant focal point.

Source and image credit: Killymoon Castle