Dramatically located on a steep headland that plunges straight into the sea off the North Antrim coast, Dunluce Castle is the ruined former home of the legendary MacDonnell clan.
Thanks to its important defensive position, Dunluce Castle was constantly fought over, changing hands many times until one night in 1639, when a violent storm saw part of the structure crash down into the sea below. The castle was abandoned shortly after, and evidence suggests further bad luck befell the village located here when a fire destroyed it just a few years later in 1641.
It’s thought the castle, which is connected to the mainland via a footbridge, was built as far back as the 13th Century and was an important site for both Vikings and early Christians.
Today, the castle still belongs to the MacDonnell family, although the estate is managed by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency. Visitors to this part of the Antrim coast can take an audiovisual tour where they can view animations of what the castle would once have looked like, as well as taking in the stunning views of the castle itself, set against the dramatic backdrop of the North Atlantic.
As one of the most iconic and important monuments in Northern Ireland, Dunluce Castle’s precarious position on a craggy outcrop off the Antrim coast exemplifies an important part in the history of this corner of the country.