Ballygally Castle is a castle in the village of Ballygally, County Antrim, Northern Ireland, located approximately three miles north of Larne. The castle overlooks the sea at the head of Ballygally Bay. The castle is the only 17th century building still used as a residence in Northern Ireland, and is reputed to be one of the most haunted places in the province.The castle was built in 1625 by James Shaw, of Scotland, who had come to the area and rented the land from the Earl of Antrim for £24 a year. It was built in the style of a French chateau with high walls, steep roof, dormer windows and corner turrets. The walls are five feet thick with loopholes for muskets. An open stream ran through the outer hall to provide water in case of siege. The castle did come under attack, from the Irish garrison at Glenarm, several times during the rebellion of 1641 but each assault was unsuccessful. The castle was owned by the Shaw family until it passed into the hands of William Shaw in 1799.
He sold the estate for £15,400. In the 1950s the castle was bought by the carpet tycoon Cyril Lord and was extended and renovated. It is now owned and run by the Hastings Hotels Group.
The castle is reputed to host a number of ghosts, the most active of which is the former resident, Lady Isobel Shaw, who amuses herself by knocking at the doors of different rooms and then suddenly disappearing. When she was alive, Isobel was locked in her room and starved by her husband. She leapt to her death from a window. Madame Nixon is another ghost who lived in the hotel in the 19th century. She can be heard walking around the hotel in her silk dress.