A few miles west of Giant’s Causeway, the skeletal remains of Dunluce Castle stand perched on a cliff along the North Channel. A deep ravine divides the site into two sections which are linked by a narrow, pedestrian bridge.
The side closest to the road held the stables and guest quarters (and now houses the visitor center), while the second area—with the buildings most precariously balanced over the sea—served as the primary residence.
Access to the buildings is only possible during certain hours and requires a small fee, but a steep, unguarded staircase to the side of the restricted area leads to the lowest point between the two sections. From here, visitors will find impressive views of the ruins and surrounding landscape, and can take a closer look at the small cave beneath the furthest outcropping.
Richard de Burgh or one of his followers probably built the original castle in the 13thcentury on the site of an earlier fort. However, it’s best known as the home of the McDonnells, chiefs of Antrim, who took control of the building after the Battle of Orla in 1565. Randall McDonnell, the second McDonnell lord at Dunluce, was responsible for erecting the manor house within the fortress’s walls. In 1639, part of the castle fell into the sea, taking the kitchen and cooks with it. The buildings were ultimately abandoned in 1690.
Photos by Renée DeVoe Mertz, May 25, 2013, unless otherwise stated.