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Dunluce Castle Ireland Tourist Information

Updated on November 19, 2016

Dunluce Castle Ireland

The amazing Dunluce Castle in Ireland, is found on the North Antrim coast, found near a town called Bushmills. It is a most fascinating place to visit. Every time I go there I just get this weird eerie feeling as if something is calling me back to its haunting beauty. The views from here are spectacular, so do not forget your camera on this trip.

Perched on the edge of a cliff face I often wonder about its history and what sights and scenes it has witnessed. If you are planning a vacation or holiday to Ireland please be sure to include Dunluce Castle Northern Ireland in your holiday diary of places to see.

The castle is in County Antrim and close to the Giant's Causeway and the Carrick-A-Rede Rope bridge. Now millions of people have visited the Giant's Causeway, but have missed out on seeing this wonderful castle. It is only a short 10 minute drive away, and I think well worth a look.

Dunluce Castle Photos

Dunluce Castle Ireland from the Giant's Causeway
Dunluce Castle Ireland from the Giant's Causeway | Source
Dunluce Castle Northern Ireland
Dunluce Castle Northern Ireland | Source
Dunluce Castle Ireland - Castle of intrigue
Dunluce Castle Ireland - Castle of intrigue | Source
Dunluce Castle Northern Ireland - famed for the cry of the banshee
Dunluce Castle Northern Ireland - famed for the cry of the banshee | Source
Dunluce Castle - a strange and haunting remains
Dunluce Castle - a strange and haunting remains | Source

Dunluce Castle Ireland- A Brief History

It is quite an iconic ruin, though a ruin is probably not the best description. Condidering it was built around the early 1500's, by the McQuillan family, it is still in remarkably good condition. There are a number of interesting castles in Northern Ireland.

Now according to Irish folklore, which is of course always true, this castle is still believe to be haunted by a "banshee." Now, for those of you who are not sure what that is, then here is a very short version. It is a female spirit or ghost, that has a loud wail, and if heard by anyone, means there will be a death in the family.

Cheery I know, but the good news is, I know of no-one who has ever heard it.

Ballygally Castle

It is very similar to another castle known as Ballygally Castle and that is also known to be haunted. Ballygally Castle is however a working hotel and you can even opt to stay in one of the haunted rooms.

Glenarm Castle

Not far from Dunluce or Ballygally is another castle known as Glenarm Castle. There is a close association between Dunluce and Glenarm. It is often referred to as "A Tale of Two Castles." The McDonnells of Antrim still own Dunluce, although it is managed by a government agency. This same family though also own Glenarm Castle as it was initially built by Earl McDonnell.

Dunluce Castle is not however a place you can stay. It is perched on the edge of a cliff face and I often wonder about its history and what sights and scenes it has witnessed. If you are planning a vacation of holiday to Ireland please be sure to include Dunluce Castle in your holiday diary of places to see.

Dunluce Castle Ireland - 13th Century

The castle is steeped in Northern Ireland history. This castle was built in the 14th Century and it basically balances on the edge of a cliff with a sheer drop down into the sea. Some of it dropped off into the sea in 1639 taking with it the kitchens and everything within them.

Irish folklore has it that an itinerant cobbler who had been in the corner of the room survived this disaster. If you are from Ireland you know this is true, if you are from elsewhere, then I promise you it is indeed Irish folklore. We do like our fairy stories in Ireland.

In the fourteenth century Richard de Burgh built a Norman castle on this site and access was by a large sea cave that goes in beneath the cliff face. It then slopes up towards the castle itself and in those days would have been protected by a drawbridge. A wooden bridge now spans it.

The 16th Century

In the late sixteenth century the MacDonnells ruled this north-east part of Ireland from Dunluce Castle. In 1584 Sir John Perrott came up from Dublin and pounded the castle with artillery and eventually ejected Sorley Boy MacDonnell.

He left an English garrison in charge and as soon as Perrott left, Sorley Boy attacked again and reclaimed his castle. He repaired the castle using loot taken from the sunken “Girona”, a Spanish treasure ship which had sunk off the Giant’s Causeway coast.

This was the first of many sieges that Dunluce Castle would see over the years. Sorley Boy did move to near the small village of Glenarm in a townland called Dunaneenie and the castle was passed down to his son Randal McDonnell.

He then went about building a huge manor house within the castle walls. He married a woman who had been widowed called Lady Katherine Manners. A small village grew up around the manor house and the castle and became a focus of commerce. A visit to the graveyard nearby bears testament to this and I would recommend a visit there to understand the history fully.

Dunluce Castle Ireland- The Irish Rebellion

In 1641 during the Irish rebellion was put under siege by the Irish Army and the small village was burned to the ground. The Castle did survive though thanks to the command of a Captain Digsby who was then relieved by the second Earl of Antrim.

A year later General Munro arrived and took Dunluce Castle and imprisoned the Earl in Carrickfergus Castle. The Earl did escape and once again returned to his beloved castle. Shortly after the Battle of the Boyne in 1690, the castle was abandoned and sits today as a ruin. However it is a ruin that still intrigues, and I think you will be surprised when you visit Dunluce Castle.

Dunluce Castle Northern Ireland Opening Hours

Opening Hours

If you are planning an Ireland vacation , then Dunluce Castle in Northern Ireland is open all year around and tours can be arranged with prior notice. Prices are correct as of December 2016

  • April to September: Daily 10am - 5pm Last admission 4.30pm
  • October to March: Daily 10am - 5pm Last admission 4.30pm
  • Also open Bank Holidays and Public Holidays.
    Price: Adult £5.00 Child (4-16 years)/OAP £3.00 Children under 4 have free admittance Groups of 10 or more £3.00 but must be pre-booked

87 Dunluce Road, Portrush, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland Tel: 028 2073 1938

There is an app that you can download, and that will provide you with a full historical background, and 3D reconstructions of the buildings.

Game of Thrones

For any of you, who are fans of this show, then a lot of filming has taken place in this general area. That includes the now famous "Dark Hedges." This castle was used to some extent as Castle Greyjoy.

I should also probably mention that a new Visitor's Centre has opened at the Giant's Causeway which is very close to Dunluce Castle. It opened in the summer of 2012 as has the new Titanic Visitor Experience Centre in Belfast.

2012 was a busy year for Northern Ireland as we also hostedthe Irish Golf Open at Royal Portrush again only a few miles from Dunluce. The British Open is also to be hosted there very soon.

Location of Dunluce CAstle

Dunluce Castle in Ireland - Video

Great Song about Dunluce Castle in Ireland

Comments on Dunluce Castle

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    • Anthony Binks profile image

      Anthony Binks 

      6 years ago from Northern Ireland

      Your right, it is a wonderful place to visit.

      I have ben once myself and could have spent endless hours looking around it.

      It would be one place I would dearly love to see revived to its old grand state.

    • marieryan profile image

      Marie Ryan 

      8 years ago from Andalusia, Spain

      This was beautiful, Endamac! I visited Ireland for the first time last October (to Cork). I've bookmarked this to remind me about my next visit!!

      The video was superb!


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