CountyAntrimCARRICKFERGUSStNicholas(albertbridgeCC-BY-SA2.0)1 AlbertBridge

St Nicholas

The jewel in the crown of Carrickfergus; a unique Norman church which perfectly complements the Castle.

Carrickfergus, County Antrim

Opening times

Saturday 12noon to 2pm.
Tuesday 2pm to 3.0pm.
Wednesday 10.30am to 12noon.
Guided tours by arrangement with office.


Lancasterian Street
County Antrim
BT38 7AB

The roots of St Nicholas church date back prior to its construction by John De Courcy who founded Carrickfergus in 1182.

The church was reconstructed by Thomas Paps for Sir Arthur Chichester in 1614. The Norman pillars where hidden within the present walls and did not come to light again until 1907 when they were uncovered during restoration.

The baptistry found at the back of the nave was originally constructed in 1614 as the porch of the church. The porch of the church was an extremely important feature because much civic business was transacted there. Coroner's courts were held in it and public deeds and covenants were signed there. Long deep cuts to the cornerstones are believed to have been made by soldiers as they sharpened their halberds.
In the past the church has benefited greatly from the patronage of Sir Arthur Chichester, the Lord deputy of Ireland and governor of Carrickfergus. He was the first Lord Baron of Belfast and together with his close family are interned in the vault. This was closed to the public until 1830.

The Donegal aisle houses as elaborate Jacobean monument in marble and alabaster to Sir Arthur and his wife Lady Lettice. Between them lies their only child who died in infancy. Below is a monument to his brother Sir John Chichester who was ambushed and killed in the nearby village of Glynn in 1597.

Many visitors will be surprised by the crooked aisle. This skew has been immortalised by the poet Louis MacNeice in his poem 'Carrickfergus'. His father John Frederick MacNeice, was rector of the church where Louis grew up, submerged in the history and the architecture of this wonderful building.

The church is adorned with many interesting stained glass windows and includes a small Lepers window where people from the nearby hospital could come and observe the service. The church even has a stained glass window which depicts St Nicholas, AKA Santa, on a sleigh of course.

  • Captivating architecture

  • Enchanting atmosphere

  • Fascinating churchyard

  • Magnificent memorials

  • Spectacular stained glass

  • Accessible toilets in church

  • Bus stop within 100m

  • Café within 500m

  • Level access to the main areas

  • Parking within 250m

  • Train station within 250m

  • Walkers & cyclists welcome

  • Annual Civic Carol service.

  • Northern Irish Horse Memorial Service.

  • Full range of activities in the nearby church hall.

  • Church of Ireland

Contact information

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Whitehead, County Antrim

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Whiteabbey Presbyterian Church

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St Philip & St James

Holywood, County Down

Located in north Down just a few miles from Belfast the Victorian church building is open daily for prayer and meditation.