Bushmills

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Dunluce Castle: Medieval Irish Castle on the Antrim Coast

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Contact details

Address

87 Dunluce Road, Bushmills, County Antrim,
T: (028) 2073 1938
F: (028) 2073 2850
E: nieainfo@doeni.gov.uk

Dunluce Castle. A defended site from at least 500AD. Open 7 days a week. Seasonal opening.

Dunluce Castle is located dramatically close to a headland that plunges straight into the sea, along the North Antrim coast, and was the headquarters of the MacDonnell Clan.

There is archaeological evidence of a village that surrounded the castle which was destroyed by fire in 1641. The site was also witness to the sinking of a colony ship that broke up on the rocks off Islay in 1857 with the loss of 240 lives.

Constantly fought over, it eventually succumbed to the power of nature, when part of it fell into the sea one stormy night in 1639. It was abandoned shortly afterwards.

While there is evidence that parts of the castle date back to the 14th century, the first record of it is from 1513 when it belonged to the MacQuillans.

The 17th century mainland courtyard, containing domestic buildings, leads downhill to a narrow crossing to the rock, formerly protected by a drawbridge to the gatehouse. The buildings on the rock are 16th and 17th century.

Did you know? Recent archaeological excavations of Dunluce Castle have further demonstrated the significance of the site, revealing an incredibly well preserved merchant town built in 1608.

Did you know? Dunluce Castle is regarded as the possible inspiration for Cair Paravel in C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia.

An app for iphone and android devices has been developed for Dunluce Castle. This is now available, free of charge, from the App Store and Google Play.

Visitor Audio Guide Tour - we now provide an audio visual tour where visitors view animations of the castle’s structures rebuilt before their eyes, to create an engaging and immersive visitor experience. We developed an adults’ tour and a children’s tour designed to run simultaneously, allowing families to explore an area together but to engage with it on different levels. A ‘hidden treasure’ element of the children’s tour encourages younger visitors to explore the site to find resin-cast replicas of artefacts discovered at Dunluce.