Horn Castle is located at the back Ardglass Golf Club, the Golf Professional Shop and kitchens are located in it. The Fitzgerald family integrated this into Ardglass Castle when they were creating their family home (see Ardglass History)
Ardglass Castle was fortified by the Normans as bringing in supplies was vitally important for Norman warlord De Courcy’s efforts to hold on to power, especially with the native Irish making efforts to remove them
In 1401 a fortified trading warehouse was built in the reign of HenryVI. The ‘Newerk’ or ‘New Works’ was created by a London trading company settled at Ardglass. The actual name ‘Newerk’ is first mentioned in an Inquisition in 1426 as ‘one messuage called Newerk in Ardglass’ being owned by a Gascon knight called Janico Dartas or D’artois. A drawing of this is shown on the 'History' page of this website.
The ‘Newerk’ warehouses needed water for human and animal consumption but also for the related commerce, such as preparing cow hides and salting fish, would need a to be positioned around a large well close to the bay. The well is supplied from one of the numerous springs, which occur on the ‘Downs’ of the present day Golf Club.
The block of warehouses was built to provide 13 spaces behind the quay, guarded by towers at each end, let out to resident or visiting merchants who lived over thier stores. They were in the habit of using Horn Castle as their kitchen and dining hall. On the seaside there were no windows or apertures, except narrow loop-holes, a circumstance which, together with the centre and flanking towers, shows the secondary purpose of the building to have been a fortress, to protect the merchants from piratical assailants.
Norman Ardglass was sacked by the O'Neills and O'Donnells and by 1473 an Act of Parliament recognised that English Law no longer applied in Ulster. Ardglass and Jordans Castles were re-fortified in 1565 by Shane O'Neil as part of the O’Neills campaign to stop the Tudor governments plantation plans in Ulster. Ardglass changed hands on many occasions between Irish and English armies up until 1689
In 1790 the Lord of the Manor of Ardglass, Lord Charles Fitzgerald, son of the Duke of Leinster removed half the ‘Newerk’ and built what is today’s Golf Club as his personal residence. It was during this renovation that the animal bones were found at Horn Castle and this is how it got its name.