Carrickfergus Rowing Club, founded in 1866 by Charled H. Crawford, is the oldest sporting club in Carrickfergus and one of the earliest rowing clubs to be established in Ireland. By early 1867 membership had reached thirty and a four-oared racing gig had been delivered by Matt Taylor, boat builder of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, at a cost of ?35. Crews from Carrickfergus competed with great enthusiasm in many northern Regattas, achieving their first win at a local event in 1870.
Prior to the completion, in 1874, of the first Clubhouse boats were stored in premises belonging to the Antrim Artillery, on the site of the present Town Hall, and carried across the rough shingle beach for launching. This Clubhouse, a wooden structure supported on piles, was erected behind the East Pier with the consent of the Carrickfergus Harbour Commissioners. Work was supervised by Paul Rodgers of the shipyard, at that time a member of the Club, and cost approximately ?150. The building was replaced in 1888 and again in 1902 following storm damage.