What is now Carnfunnock Country Park provided – 150 years ago sites for not one, but two “grand houses” by lease from the Marquis of Donegall, two brothers, James and Robert Agnew built residents there in the 1850’s. James built the more modest Cairn castle Lodge but due to financial difficulties sold it in 1865 to James Chaine (a wealth linen manufacturer, also responsible for the development of Larne Harbour) whose family lived there for 70 years. Its last owner, William Chaine died in 1937 when the lands and property was merged with that originally owned by Robert Agnew.
Robert had built “Seaview”, This larger house was sold in 1878 to Mr Stewart Clark, a Scottish textile manufacturer who married a Larne girl, Annie Grilly. Their daughter, Edith married (Sir) Thomas Dixon and occupied Seaview from 1918 – now a much enlarged House – until 1947, when they moved to what is now Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park, Dunmurry on the outskirts of Belfast. However before leaving they demolished the Cairncastle Lodge and built a chalet cottage on its own site, calling it Carnfunnock House. In 1950 Sir Thomas gave Cairndhu and 160 acres to the Ministry of Health, which used it as a convalescent home for over 30 years. Sadly it too, is now derelict.
In 1957 Larne Borough Council purchased nearly 400 acres (including Walled Garden and Chalet) now the Larne Lions Holiday Home). In 1990 Carnfunnock Country Park was opened, to be enjoyed as a leisure facility for literally thousands of visitors each year.