The original castle at Dunluce, between Portballintrae and Bushmills, was built in the 13th century by Richard de Burgh, and passed through the hands of the McQuillans before becoming a stronghold of the MacDonnells in the 16th century. This was the same clan as the MacDonalds of the western isles of Scotland, and the ruined castle of Dunluce symbolises perhaps as well as anything the historic connections provided by the sea.
The castle stands on towering cliffs, but the legend that one stormy night the kitchens fell into the sea is probably a myth. The impressive ruins are in the care of the NI Department of the Environment as a historic monument. Recent excavations have revealed some of the remains of ther adjecent village, burned to the ground in the uprising of 1641.
Dunluce Castle is sited dramatically close to the edge of a headland, along the North Antrim coast.
Surrounded by jaw dropping coastal scenery, this medieval castle stands where an early Irish fort was once built. Other properties connected with Dunluce include Ballymagarry House and Glenarm Castle. A village that once surrounded the castle was destroyed by fire during 1641, but some archaelogical remnants of walls remain. Also nearby are the ancient church ruins of St. Cuthbert’s, and the site was witness to the sinking of the colony ship the Exmouth, bound for Quebec, which broke up on rocks off Islay with 240 deaths in 1857.
Visitor centre, shop and guided tours of the ruins, gardens and remnants of the town.
Limited wheelchair access.
Tours available Easter-September and pre-booked available out of season.
No admission to unaccompanied children under sixteen.
Nearest harbours: Portrush and Ballycastle; bus service from Portrush.