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Dunluce Castle, Bushmills, Co. Antrim

Dunluce Castle sits dramatically on the north Antrim shoreline near the town of Bushmills. The castle sits on a basalt outcrop which is linked to the mainland by bridge. It’s believed this isolated site was attractive to the original inhabitants who used it for their protection.

13th Century – Construction

A castle was originally built on the site by Richard Óg de Burgh, the 2nd Earl of Ulster (The Red Earl). The Earl was a very senior Norman nobleman of the time and good friend of King Edward I.

15th Century Dunluce Castle changes hands

Records of 1513 indicate the castle was held by the McQuillan family, who built the two large drum towers (c. 9m/30ft) in diameter. The McQuillans were displaced by the MacDonnells after losing two battles to them during the mid and late 16th century.

In 1588, The Girona, a ship of the Spanish Armada ran around near the castle. The Girona’s cannons were installed at the castle, and the cargo from the ship was sold, with proceeds used to help restore the castle.

In 1690 the MacDonnells lost control of the castle as they were impoverished following the Battle of the Boyne. The castle fell into disrepair and parts were often taken for use as construction materials in other buildings nearby.

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