1883 – Runkerry House, Portballintrae, Co. Antrim

Architect: Samuel P. Close



A house in Scottish Baronial style for Edward Macnaghten, a landmark Victorian-era manor overlooking the ocean near the Giant’s Causeway. It boasted 20 bedrooms, 5.6 hectares (14 acres) of gardens and a beautiful location by Bushfoot Strand in Portballintrae. In 1950 Macnaghten’s son, Sir Malcolm Macnaghten, gifted the estate, worth £3.25m in today’s money, to Northern Ireland’s government. Now apartments.

Declassified documents later revealed Macnaghten, an MP and High Court judge, wanted to keep the property out of Catholic hands. “I could no doubt sell it at a price but I am very unwilling to do so lest it… fall into the hands of the Roman Catholic Church,” he said in a letter to the unionist-dominated government at Stormont. “The idea that the house should become a RC monastery or convent or seminary is abhorrent to me as it would have been to my father.”