Sitting right on the cliff’s edge on a basalt outcrop on Northern Ireland’s coast, Dunluce castle looks as if it would disappear into the sea at any moment. Joined to the mainland by only an arched walkway, the castle’s situation is precarious at best.
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The castle was built during Ireland’s Anglo-Norman period by Richard de Burgh or one of his cohorts, who may have been rebuilding one already at the site. During the ensuing centuries the castle was added to, and, in the 16th century, was the property of the Scottish MacDonnell clan, earls of Antrim.
In 1584 the castle was severely damaged. Money for repairs came along due to a lucky coincidence—a Spanish armada treasure ship was wrecked nearby in 1588. The village, built beside the castle, was destroyed in 1641 by a fire started by the Irish. The MacDonnells eventually moved to Ballymagarry house, and the castle fell into disrepair, then ruin.
The ruins include a courtyard, great hall, gatehouse, kitchen, and cave. This dramatic ruin is a “not to be missed” site.
87 Dunluce Rd
Bushmills, on A2, three miles east of Portrush
Tel. 028 2073 1938
Open: Oct-March, Mon-Sat, 10am-4pm, Sun, 2-4pm; April, May, and Sep, Mon-Sat, 10am-6pm, Sun, 2-6pm; June-Aug, 10am-6pm, Sun, 12-6pm