Dunluce Castle is a ruined medieval castle located on the edge of a basalt outcropping in County Antrim, and is accessible via a bridge connecting it to the mainland. The castle is surrounded by extremely steep drops on either side, which may have been an important factor to the early Christians and Vikings who were drawn to this place where an early Irish fort once stood.

In the 13th century, Richard Óg de Burgh, 2nd Earl of Ulster, built the first castle at Dunluce. The earliest features of the castle are two large drum towers about 9 metres in diameter on the eastern side, both relics of a stronghold built here by the McQuillans after they became lords of the Route.

The McQuillans were the Lords of Route from the late 13th century until they were displaced by the MacDonnell after losing two major battles against them during the mid- and late-16th century.

Later Dunluce Castle became the home of the chief of the Clan MacDonnell of Antrim and the Clan MacDonald of Dunnyveg from Scotland.

In 1588 the Girona, a galleass from the Spanish Armada, was wrecked in a storm on the rocks nearby. The cannons from the ship were installed in the gatehouses and the rest of the cargo sold, the funds being used to restore the castle.

Dunluce Castle served as the seat of the Earl of Antrim until the impoverishment of the MacDonnells in 1690, following the Battle of the Boyne. Since that time, the castle has deteriorated and parts were scavenged to serve as materials for nearby buildings.



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Founded: 13th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in United Kingdom


4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Barbara Kling (2 years ago)
Another beautiful sight along the coastal scenic route. The staff are friendly and have a good breadth of knowledge. The signage is informative and the map easy to follow. Partway wheelchair accessible.
Julie Jindra (2 years ago)
Fantastic castle ruins with an awesome view right over the water! The pictures online did not disappoint - the restoration efforts have been respectful to the original buildings and give a good idea of what the castle looked like in its prime. My favorite castle of about 10 that we saw in Ireland/Northern Ireland.
Juli GB (2 years ago)
Definitely has been one of my favorite castles. Whether you want to geek out in history, or like me in GOT. This place is amazing. Walking thru it makes you wonder how they lived before, and also what shots were used on GOT. The staff is extremely friendly. I went on a Sunday afternoon and it was lovely, not crowded at all. And THE VIEWS are 10 out of 10 !!!
Steve Mason (2 years ago)
Fascinating history, well worth the visit and prices are reasonable. The actual building of the castle was a feat in itself. Quite literally built into the cliff face. Constant land and clan battles add fruitiness to the story. Some work has been done that shows how it would have actually looked back in the day which really helps add perspective and depth. I would say a visit would not take longer than an hour, including the mandatory ice cream to finish!?
R Palmer (2 years ago)
We enjoyed our visit to this castle. Of course, the Game of Thrones association adds an extra interest if you're a fan, but the overall history is interesting. It was a beautiful location too.
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