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Dunluce Castle

As precious as the places you hear about in old Irish folklore tales, Dunluce Castle is one of the most spectacularly historical rich castles in the world. Dunluce Castle is full of mystical myths and legends, and was fought over countless times in the past.

The castle-crowned crag on which Dunluce Castle sits was first inhabited by nomadic Nordic boatmen who crossed over to Ireland from south-west Scotland . These early crag-dwellers came to the site as long ago as 7,000 B.C., and lived in the caves that remain on castle grounds. The Dunluce Castle caves can still be visited by boat today.



Dunluce Castle 's ancient colored cliffs can be seen from far out at sea, because of the distinctive mix of red sandstone, black basalt, blue clavs and white chalk in their natural patterns. The enchanting colorful rock lured many seamen into shore, including early Viking explorers and several ships of Christian settlers.


Recognized throughout the world for having the single most dramatic coastline among the British Isles, Dunluce Castle is steeped in mystery and supernatural mythology. Said to have been enchanted by ghosts and giants, there have been several historical accounts of spooks and sightings on castle grounds. Some believe that Dunluce Castle is, indeed, haunted, while others chalk it up to being nothing but farce legend.


In the 13 th century, Earl of Ulster Richard de Burgh first built Dunluce Castle . Records show that the castle was presided over for many years by members of the McQuillen family, but was taken from them by force by a man named Sorley Boy MacDonnell after the battle of Orla in 1565.


In 1584, Sorley Boy MacDonnell discovered a mass of treasures lying in the shipwrecked boat Girona from the Spanish Armada that had washed up the Irish coast. He used these riches to modernize his castle, mounting four salvaged cannons along the castle walls and adding telescopes and celestial globes to Dunluce's décor.


Years after MacDonnell, when the Earl and Countess of Antrim took up residence at Dunluce Castle , they further pampered the castle walls with possessions they had obtained as gifts from the queen during their frequent visits to the London royal court. Saddles worked with silver and gold, breathtaking paintings of the zodiac, and many other worldly gifts soon gave Dunluce Castle one of the finest, most brilliantly beautiful castle interiors in all of Medieval Europe.


A thriving village of merchants, settlers and loyal Irishmen soon rose around the bustling castle, and Dunluce became an important center of commerce.


Then, in the mid-to-late 1600's, the castle's heyday came to a crashing halt. In 1639, part of the castle including the castle kitchen broke off and plunged down into the sea. Seven cooks plummeted to their death upon that fateful day, and one cobbler who was in the kitchen at the time also suffered the same fate. With the tragic loss of their beloved castle staff, the Earl and his Countess soon grew weak, and two years later, Dunluce Castle was invaded and its surrounding village burnt.


By 1690, Dunluce Castle had been deserted. During the years following the castles abandonment, many visitors and passersby made their contributions to creating castle legend, by making claims that the castle grounds were haunted by ghosts and inhabited at night by giants, dwarfs, and other mythological creatures.




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