Glengarnock Castle

Kilbirnie, United Kingdom

Glengarnock Castle is one of the ancient ruined fortifications of Ayrshire. Its keep is located on a remote rocky promontory overlooking the River Garnock about 2 miles north of the town of Kilbirnie in North Ayrshire. There is no clear account of when this was erected or by whom, but it may have been built by the Cunningham (or Cunninghame) family or by the Riddels who preceded them. 

In the 12th and 13th centuries, the lands here were held for the King by the De Morville family, hereditary Great Constables of Scotland. A castle may have been built here by them; a convenient site in relation to the abbey they founded at Kilwinning. The Barony of Glengarnock then passed to the Riddels and the Cunninghames. The Cunninghames retained the castle until the early 17th century and by the 18th century it had been abandoned. The Honourable Patrick Lindsay of Kilbirnie Place purchased the castle and estate of Glengarnock in 1677 from Richard Cuninghame, the last of the Cuninghames of Garnock. In 1707 both baronies were united in the Barony of Kilbirnie, with Kilbirnie Place as the principal dwelling.

The castle is an example of a keep with courtyard attached and dates from the period 1400-1542, with various later buildings in the courtyard.



Your name


Kilbirnie, United Kingdom
See all sites in Kilbirnie


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

More Information


4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Andy Gourlay (7 months ago)
The castle itself, which was built in the 15th Century, is magnificent. Set in a deep ravine, the structure is positioned around 100ft above the river that flows beneath. It can only be accessed by a long, man-made causeway that juts out from the cliff face. The castle is in a ruinous state, but enough remains upstanding to give it a rugged, mysterious and romantic aspect. It should be noted, however, that it is VERY remote and rather difficult to get to. Looking at the map prior to setting out, I probably didn't appreciate the elevation of the site and I struggled at times on the way up. It probably didn't help that it was a hot day and I'd already walked 5 miles before reaching Kilbirnie. I would recommend that folks visit Glengarnock Castle, but that they bring some sturdy footwear and be prepared for a bit of a climb.
Fraser D (8 months ago)
Interesting old ruin. Some good archways and stonework still standing! Worth the hike from the roadway.
Brian McDiarmid (11 months ago)
Cracking views and interesting ruin, totally unsuitable for anyone who is not fit. You can't buy tickets as it is an unstaffed ruin. It's a short 5 minute walk through a couple of fields from where I was able to park my car. This is also not the easiest location to find but definitely worth the effort.
Ingrid Peebles (2 years ago)
A hidden gem.
Craig Macmillan (3 years ago)
Nice ruin......ruined by the locals. Nice enough ruined castle, nice walk and great views. Only thing to ruin it was the local youth using it as a cmpsite and toilet, see photo, good to see they take an interest in local history.......not!
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Trencín Castle

Trenčín Castle is relatively large renovated castle, towering on a steep limestone cliff directly above the city of Trenčín. It is a dominant feature not only of Trenčín, but also of the entire Považie region. The castle is a national monument.

History of the castle cliff dates back to the Roman Empire, what is proved by the inscription on the castle cliff proclaiming the victory of Roman legion against Germans in the year 179.

Today’s castle was probably built on the hill-fort. The first proven building on the hill was the Great Moravian rotunda from the 9th century and later there was a stone residential tower, which served to protect the Kingdom of Hungary and the western border. In the late 13th century the castle became a property of Palatine Matúš Csák, who became Mr. of Váh and Tatras.

Matúš Csák of Trenčín built a tower, still known as Matthew’s, which is a dominant determinant of the whole building.