Dunluce Castle, Co.Antrim
Spectacularly situated on a rock jutting out into the Atlantic off the north coast of County Antrim, Dunluce Castle is one of the best-known historic monuments in Ulster.
At the beginning of the 16th century the castle was in the possession of the McQuillans, but by the 1560s they had been forced out by the MacDonnells from Islay who were establishing themselves as the most powerful family in north Antrim.
The gate-house with its distinctive Scottish-style corbelling probably dates from the late 16th century. In the early 1600s Randal McDonnell, Earl of Antrim, built an English-style hall with large bay windows and fireplaces inside the defences. During a storm one night in 1639 a portion of the servants’ quarters collapsed into the sea, taking with it some of the servants. The castle was abandoned by the MacDonnells in the latter part of the 17th century. The castle is now in state care and is open to the public.
A now vanished 17th-century settlement was located next to Dunluce Castle. In 1611 it was described as having many tenements ‘after the fashion of the Pale peopled for the most part with Scottishmen’, indicating that some attempt had been made to establish an urban community here. In recent years archaeological excavations have revealed the fascinating history of this settlement. In the burial ground attached to the nearby ruined parish church a gravestone bearing the year 1630 commemorates the children of Walter Kyd, a merchant of Dunluce.
87 Dunluce Road Bushmills County Antrim BT57 8UY
Historic Environment Division www.communities-ni.gov.uk/topics/historic-environment
Open daily from 10am-5pm (4pm closure in Dec. and Jan). Last entry 30 minutes before closing time.