Steeped in centuries of history, myths and legends, the unique and impressive castles and towers that dot the Northern Irish landscape reveal surprising aspects of our past and how, at times, their architecture played a critical role in defining our past and our present.
Dunluce Castle is one of these castles, located dramatically close to a headland that plunges straight into the sea, along the North Antrim coast. It was the headquarters of the MacDonnell Clan. There is archaeological evidence of a village that surrounded the castle which is believed to have been 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, the castle 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.
Recent archaeological excavations of Dunluce Castle have further demonstrated the significance of the site, revealing an incredibly well preserved merchant town built in 1608.
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.
There is limited disabled access for wheelchair users as the site has a cobbled, uneven surface. Last admission is 30 minutes before closing. No admission to unaccompanied children under the age of 16.
10:00am - 17:30pm Daily (1st Apr to 30th Sep)
10:00am - 16:30pm Daily (1st Oct to 30th Nov)
10:00am - 16:00pm Daily (1st Dec to 31st Jan)
10:00am - 17:00pm Daily (1st Feb to 31st Mar)
Adult - £5
Children/Seniors - £3 Children under 4 years old - Free
Family (2 adults and 2 children) - £13
Group Rate - (10 plus must be booked) £3 per person