Found in Northern Ireland towards the Giants Causeway along the Antrim Coast, Dunluce Castle is nestled east of Portrush on the sheer cliffs of the Causeway Coastal Route. It was built between 1400 and 1600 and was one of several Irish castles on the Coast. Dunluce Castle offers a unique insight into the past of Northern Ireland. You’ll be able to descend an ancient stairway outside the castle grounds to visit the cave beneath Dunluce or simply meander among the castle’s ruins.
Dunluce Castle Bears Witness to the history of Northern Ireland
A visit to the North Coast will simply not be complete without stopping at Dunluce Castle! Tucked away on the cliffs to the west of the Giant’s Causeway, Dunluce offers unique insights into what life was like in Northern Ireland many years ago.
An amazing experience for adults and children, historical secrets are waiting to be re-discovered hidden throughout the castle. A guide will accompany you once you’ve entered the grounds and help you explore Dunluce’s unique history. The Dunluce welcome centre also offers an excellent multi-media presentation that is worthwhile watching.
Visit Dunluce Castle With The Kids
Although Dunluce Castle is safe for children to explore, we wouldn’t recommend letting the smaller ones out of your sight. This is, after all ruins perched on a cliffside! Although the alleys, passages, and lanes are cobbled from the drawbridge, disabled access is available throughout the castle’s site. The walk is also easy for young children and elders alike, as there are many places along the cobbled streets they can sit and rest if required.
Although we have been to Dunluce Castle many times, we always find something new to appreciate or discover about this amazing past structure.
It is rumoured that Dunluce Castle was a big part of CS Lewis’ inspiration for the “Cair Paravel” in his Chronicles of Narnia series. Children familiar with the series love exploring the castle’s mysteries.
Apart from engaging in the legends of Dunluce, children also love exploring this amazing artefact’s ruins, rooms, and turrets. The views from the dramatic coastal cliffs are also spectacular, which already makes the visit worthwhile.
Over the years, several family ‘clans’ ruled Dunluce, including the MacDonnells, the MacQuillans, and Scottish settlers living in the small town. It was the second Earl of Ulster, Richard Od de Burgh, who built the first Dunluce castle.
Building Dunluce Castle
Richard Og de Burgh was also known as “The Red Earl”. He was one of the more powerful Irish nobles in the 1400s, and he chose this location along the Causeway Coast to build a castle. As the highest ranked Earl in Ireland, Richard was famous in his own right, while Elizabeth, his daughter, became the second wife of Scotland’s King Robert the Bruce.
“The Red Earl” was the originator of Dunluce Castle and the town’s long and tumultuous history. You’ll be able to learn a lot more about Dunluce Castle’s history from the well-documented information pack handed out by the Dunluce visitor centre when you arrive.
In 2011, a major excavation of the town of Dunluce, also known as the “lost town,” provided a wealth of new information about society’s rise and fall around Dunluce.
Dunluce Castle has officially been declared a nationally important archaeological site. This is aimed at protecting the ruins from any unauthorized changes.
As Dunluce is the only “scheduled monument” in North Antrim Coast, an opportunity to visit this well-preserved site is well worth the trip.
The entire family will enjoy the majesty of this magnificent structure that is so well preserved. The grounds are in excellent condition and maintained regularly, the walking areas are well paved, and although these are cobbled, they are relatively even. The entire site is clean, and well looked after.
The castle is not only intact, but you can also descend a stairway located outside the castle grounds to visit the cave beneath Dunluce.
Is Dunluce Haunted?
One of the children in the MacQuillan family in 1534 claimed that they had seen a woman in a white dress as she stood at the cliff’s edge and looked out over the sea one stormy night. According to his story, she then faded away into the wind. As nobody believed him, he convinced his oldest sibling to accompany him the next night to watch out for the ghost, but to his disappointment, it did not appear.
Much later, in the early 1550s, many more people started claiming to have seen a woman in a white dress walking at sunset on the shore below Castle Dunluce. By then in his 30s, the McQuillan boy finally walked down to the shore one evening and tried to talk to the ghost. The appearances stopped after that incident. There have been no further reports of the woman being seen again.