Dunluce Castle – A History


gray concrete castle on cliff near body of water during daytime
Image :, December, 2022

History of Dunluce Castle

Dunluce Castle is one of the most historically rich and picturesque places to visit in all of Ireland. Did you know that this castle is the House of Greyjoy from Game of Thrones? The dramatic history of Dunluce Castle includes violence, intrigue, and rebellion, just like the show GOT.

The history of Dunluce dates to the 13th century. The first castle at Dunluce was established by Richard de Burgh, the second Earl of Ulster in the 13th century. However, the ruins of the Dunluce castle that remains today are from the 16th and 17th centuries, when Dunluce became the seat of Clan McDonnell, who overthrew their rivals, the McQuillans, who were Lords of Route.

Dunluce Castle was originally built by the McQuillan family around 1500. But, the town of Dunluce, next to the castle was built by Randal McDonnell, 1st Earl of Antrim around 1608. Up until the family’s fortunes changed after the Battle of the Boyne in 1690, the Earls of Antrim were based in Dunluce.

Recent archaeological discoveries suggest that the town was planned around a grid system. The evidence from the archaeological survey points towards the town having indoor toilets, which was a rarity at that time.

Due to the lack of funding, the castle was abandoned and eventually fell into ruin. Some of its stones were salvaged and used as building materials.

Situated at the top of sheer-sided cliffs 100 feet above the ocean at the edge of the north Atlantic coast, the castle serves as a great location for an amazing getaway. The location is also perfectly suited for the Great Houses of Westeros – with the castle’s own dramatic history matching with Greyjoy’s of Game of Thrones.

From part of the kitchen collapsing into the sea to Maeve Roe, a resident banshee who attempts in eloping with her true love but later drowns in the sea, the castle has a number of popular tales associated with it. Moreover, the castle was surrounded by family affairs drama.

The location was passed down the ages until former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who was married to Clementine Hozier, acquired a share of ownership as a result of marriage. Later, in 1928, Churchill gave his part of the castle to the government of Northern Ireland.

Surrounded by the views of the beautiful sea and mesmerizing cliffs, the castle feels magical and looks like something out of a movie. No wonder, it was one of the filming locations of Game of Thrones that has captivating locations. Interestingly, this castle was also the inspiration of CS Lewis for the Royal Castle of Cair Paravel in the Chronicles of Narnia.

The iconic Dunluce castle can best be explored with Wild Rovers Game of Thrones tours from Dublin to Northern Ireland. It will not only provide you with the convenience to travel from a private vehicle, but the amazing guides will be present to walk you through the history of Dunluce Castle.

Uncover the history of this beautiful ruin that had survived this long in such a precarious position and witness the echoes of family affairs with Wild Rover Tours.