Dunluce Castle (“Dunluce” means “fort of the fort“) sits upon a rocky basalt outcrop, 100 feet above the raging iron-grey ocean below. It is widely recognized as being Ireland’s most picturesque castle.
The first castle at Dunluce was built in the 13th century by Richard de Burgh, 2nd Earl of Ulster. However, the ruins left today are from the 16th and 17th centuries, when Dunluce became the seat of Clan McDonnell, who overthrew their rivals, the McQuillans, who were Lords of Route.
Around 1608, Randal McDonnell, 1st Earl of Antrim, built the town of Dunluce next to the castle. It was rediscovered in 2011, having been razed to the ground in 1641, and archaeological discoveries suggest a sophisticated piece of town planning around a grid system, as well as evidence of indoor toilets, which were extremely rare at the time.
However, the beautiful, tranquil ruins of Dunluce have seen their fair share of legends.. Hundreds of years ago, as everybody was going about their daily lives in the castle, an entire section of the kitchens broke and fell into the sea below, sending many innocent souls to their deaths on the jagged, unforgiving ocean rocks that awaited them.
There are tales of a banshee roaming the castle, named Maeve Roe, who tried to elope with her true love but drowned in the stormy seas lurking below.
As money dwindled, the castle was left to ruin – parts of it fell into the sea, whilst other stones were scavenged as building materials. Nowadays, it is completely ruined, however, it still has many partial remains of its outer wall, round corner towers and spectacular views! And for all the Game of Throne fans, exterior shots of the castle were used for Pyke Castle of House Greyjoy on Pyke Island.
(Disclosure: Burbs2Abroad traveled to the above locations as guests and was not compensated for this review. As always, our opinions are our own.) Time of Year Visited: June 2017