The castle is situated a few miles from Shiring, and around it has grown the town known as Earlcastle. The name came from the fact that the castle is where the Earl of Shiring lives, and so the name was something that grew from that fact.
The castle itself is described as being formed from two parts. One section is the main part, with the keep inside and stone walls surrounding it. This is situated on the higher part of the hill on which the castle rests. The two parts are inside a figure of eight moat, with the main keep on the bigger part of the eight while on the lower rests the first defence, a small 'castle' with mud and earth walls and stone towers to shoot arrows from. An attacker must pass through the lower castle before they can reach the keep as the path up the hill is the only way into the castle.