A two-storey Kinbane castle was built in 1547 by Colla MacDonnell, brother of Sorley Boy MacDonnell, with a large courtyard with traces of other buildings, probably constructed out of wood. In 1551 the castle was besieged by English forces under Lord Deputy, Sir James Croft, in the course of an expedition against the MacDonnell's. Another siege in 1555 by English forces, the castle was partly destroyed by cannon fire. Rebuilt afterwards, Colla MacDonnell died at the castle in 1558.

The hollow below the castle known as Lag na Sassenach (Hollow of the English) and it was allegedly during the 16th century that a garrison of English soldiers laying siege to the castle were surrounded and massacred. Fires lit on the headland as calls for assistance were answered by clansmen who came from all directions and surrounded the garrison.

Sorley Boy MacDonnell exchanged the castle with another property at Colonsay with Gillaspick MacDonnell, son of Colla MacDonnell. The castle was then presented to the Owen MacIan Dubh MacAllister, 2nd of Loup, Chief of Clan MacAlister as a reward for their service and loyalty to the MacDonnell clan. Owen MacIan Dubh MacAllister was killed in 1571 during a skirmish with the Carrickfergus garrison, fighting alongside Sorley Boy.

The castle remained in the descendants of the MacAllisters of Kenbane until the 18th century.

Not much of the castle remains, and the path up to it is narrow and stepped, but it offers a spectacular views of Rathlin Island and Dunagregor Iron Age fort.



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Founded: 1547
Category: Castles and fortifications in United Kingdom


4.8/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Peter T (2 months ago)
This was one of our highlights of the coastal route. Free parking in small car park, and entry. Well worth the hundreds of steps, I didn’t count them, but it is hundreds. The castle ruins are small but majestic, set across a small causeway that almost certainly gets cut off at times. Look out for the waterfall too.
Matthew Harwood (4 months ago)
A really pretty castle in some amazing scenery. It is well worth making the walk from the car park to at least part way down the stairs towards the castle to get a good view of it. The stairs are slippery and muddy so do take care.
Anna Bergan (6 months ago)
5/5, 10/10, 100/100!!! I could not recommend giving this place a stop more!!! Some of the most beautiful scenery in Ireland! There is a nice path leading down to the bottom of the cliff where the castle is. There are sheep at the bottom as well which are fun to see! You can stay on the bottom along the beach or you can continue up the path to the edge of the cliff where it overlooks the ocean! I was lucky enough to see a seal while I was out there!
Tomáš Németh (6 months ago)
Words can't describe how beautiful this place is. Parking is just next to pathaway straight to this place. Just be prepared for a bit of cardio (15-20minutes of walking downstairs and then upstairs back). Amazing shores and stunning panoramatic views. There's no entrance fee. Worth it for sure!
Donna B (6 months ago)
Well worth the large amount of steps down and back up. Go at sunset for beautiful views. Make sure to wear sturdy shoes or walking boots as it's slippy and muddy In places. Cute little waterfalls too.
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