Dunure Castle

Ayr, United Kingdom

Dunure Castle is located on the west coast of Scotland, about eight kilometres south of Ayr and close to the village of Dunure. Today the castle stands in ruins on a rocky promontory on the Carrick coast, overlooking the small harbour of Dunure.

The site dates from the late 13th century; the earliest charter for the lands dating from 1256, but the remains of the building are of 15th- and 16th-century origin. One tradition says that the castle was built by the Danes. Another claims that the Mackinnons held the castle from Alexander III as a reward for their valour at the Battle of Largs. The castle is the point of origin of the Kennedys of Carrick, who once ruled over much of south western Scotland and were granted the lands in 1357.

The castle's demise began in the mid-17th century. It is not clear whether this can be linked to the Civil War period, although local tradition suggests that Dunure had been burnt and/or blown up.

The castle consisted of two distinct parts; a keep of an irregular shape on the top of a precipitous rock and other buildings at a lower level. The keep walls are about five feet thick and the vaults on the basement are well preserved, however most of the superstructure is entirely demolished. The keep represents the original castle, much altered. The central portion of the castle may be 15th century and was intended to form a defence to the access into the keep. The additional buildings are of a later date and contain two kitchens on the ground level, one for the castle and the other for the retainers. To the north-east stands a detached wall which may have led to a gateway. A drawbridge may have stood nearby and the chapel may have been located against the thick wall of the central part of the castle. A moat or fosse protected the approach and a wall may have also existed.

Beneath the castle is a cavern called the Browney's Cave which may have been a sally-port: a secret tunnel leading to the castle.

The late medieval 'beehive'-shaped dovecot of Dunure Castle dates probably from the 15th century. It would have held some 200 nesting boxes and would have supplied the castle with fresh eggs and meat.

Today the castle has been excavated and consolidated, making safe the public access to the area. The castle dominates the Kennedy Park, which has a number of facilities for visitors.



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Founded: 15th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in United Kingdom

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User Reviews

Sheena McClymont (2 years ago)
A beautiful place to visit. So clean and well kept. Thought we would only spend a couple of hours here with our grandkids and ended up being here the whole day. The kids loved exploring the castle and the rock pools on the beach. Well worth a visit
Donna Thornley (2 years ago)
Not somewhere I would have gone had we not decided to drive off the main road. It was interesting and there was plenty information about it on the castle itself. It's a short walk from a quaint harbour that I'd heard had been used in Outlander but not 100%. There were benches for picnics, a small gift shop, a park and a restaurant in that small area. If you have some time to spare it's worth a look
Basheer Khan (2 years ago)
Wow, what an overall incredible experience! The castle was great to see and there is adequate parking (minimal charge) with a playground for kids to enjoy. The incredible part was going down to the beach below which is a combination of rocks and sand with loads of little nooks and crannies for all ages to explore. Definitely an explorer's dream as each section was different and wonderful to spend time in. We will definitely be heading back there again as soon as we can!
Steve Orrock (2 years ago)
A quaint ruin of a Scottish Castle believed to have once entertained Queen Anne. Fantastic views over the Firth of Clyde. Public toilets at the top of the adjacent car park at a cost of 30p so make sure you have some coins with you in case you need to use them. Part of the Ayrshire coastal path.
Nicki tattoo (3 years ago)
What a great little find, loved it. Went hunting crabs on the beach, star fish and other wildlife was a massive bonus. Football on the cliff top and amazing little castle. ?
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