The Stormont estate was attractive because of its proximity to Belfast and the prominent building site that it offered overlooking the city. Entirely incidental to the purchase, but part and parcel of it, was a substantial 19th- century house called Stormont Castle. There was local opposition to demolition so it was spontaneously absorbed into this developing governmental landscape.
In 1922, the castle became the official residence of Sir James Craig, the first Prime Minister of Northern Ireland. That function ceased in 1940, when it became simply the Prime Minister’s office and was additionally occupied by the Cabinet Secretariat and the head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service. From 1972, following the establishment of direct rule from Westminster, the castle became the headquarters of the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and, since 1998 and the Good Friday Agreement, it has accommodated the offices of the First and Deputy Ministers of Northern Ireland.