Dunluce Castle: Medieval Irish Castle on the Antrim Coast

Dunluce Castle is located dramatically close to a headland that plunges straight into the sea, along the North Antrim coast, and was the headquarters of the MacDonnell Clan.

There is archaeological evidence of a village that surrounded the castle which was destroyed by fire in 1641. The site was also witness to the sinking of a colony ship that broke up on the rocks off Islay in 1857 with the loss of 240 lives.

Constantly fought over, it eventually succumbed to the power of nature, when part of it fell into the sea one stormy night in 1639. It was abandoned shortly afterwards.

While there is evidence that parts of the castle date back to the 14th century, the first record of it is from 1513 when it belonged to the MacQuillans.

The 17th century mainland courtyard, containing domestic buildings, leads downhill to a narrow crossing to the rock, formerly protected by a drawbridge to the gatehouse. The buildings on the rock are 16th and 17th century.

Did you know? Recent archaeological excavations of Dunluce Castle have further demonstrated the significance of the site, revealing an incredibly well preserved merchant town built in 1608.

Did you know? Dunluce Castle is regarded as the possible inspiration for Cair Paravel in C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia.

An app for iphone and android devices has been developed for Dunluce Castle. This is now available, free of charge, from the App Store and Google Play.

Visitor Audio Guide Tour - we now provide an audio visual tour where visitors view animations of the castle’s structures rebuilt before their eyes, to create an engaging and immersive visitor experience. We developed an adults’ tour and a children’s tour designed to run simultaneously, allowing families to explore an area together but to engage with it on different levels. A ‘hidden treasure’ element of the children’s tour encourages younger visitors to explore the site to find resin-cast replicas of artefacts discovered at Dunluce.

Opening times:

Dunluce Castle is open 10.00am to 5.00pm. Last admisssion is 4.30pm

Additional Information:

There is limited disabled access for wheelchair users.

All children must be accompanied by an adult.

No dogs allowed except guide dogs and assistance dogs.


Adult - £5.00, Seniors/OAPS £3.00
Child (age 4 - 16) - £3.00
Student and Benefit Claimants (ID required) - £3.00
Child under 4 - Free
Family (up to 5 members) - £13.00
Group rate(10 plus, must be pre-booked) - £3 per person

The nearest Tourist Information Centre is:

Bushmills Visitor Information Centre

Location / Directions

On A2 approximately 3 miles East of Portrush on the road to Bushmills.
  • Tea-room/Cafe onsite
  • Toilets
  • Guided Tours Available
  • Parking Available
  • Family Discount
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