Photographer's Note

have to confess to being a bit of a 'Castle Head' and this would be one of my favorites. Largely, it must be said, because of its imposing location and pure presence. It is known locally as 'Holy Sh*t' castle as it is the first thing most tourists say when they come round the appropriate bend in an extremely twisty cliff top road and see the castle in front of them, perched precariously on a cliff edge. It really does take your breath away on first sight.
History boffins can read this bit. The rest of you skip to the next paragraph or hang about and you might learn something!

The ?original? castle is reputed to have been built in the 1200's by Richard de Burgh, Earl of Ulster (not to be confused with Chris DeBurgh. A much acclaimed peddler of rather dull ballads, who had his hay day in the 1980?s). But I believe there has been a building of some form or other long before this. Probably built to scare off the Vikings or other similar marauding infidels from the dark ages. Ironically a trip up to the castle on a hot summers day will tell you that that has failed miserably as the site is bubbling with hoards of, thankfully much friendlier, Scandinavians. Very welcome they are too.

What you see at the moment is mainly late medieval and 17th-century, however the earliest features of the castle are two large drum towers about 9 metres in diameter on the eastern side, both relics of a stronghold built here by the McQuillans after they became lords of the district in the late 1300?s.

Being a tasty piece of real estate, with wonderful sea views, it often came under siege, and in 1584 Sorley Boy MacDonnell captured it, when one of his men, employed in the castle, hauled his comrades up the cliff in a basket. Strange but true.

Ever the opportunist, Sorley Boy came into some dodgy booty (some of which can be seen in the Ulster Museum in Belfast) in 1588 when the Spanish Armada treasure ship Girona was wrecked by storm near the Giants Causeway. The money was used to modernise the castle, but during a fierce storm in 1639, the kitchen fell into the sea and carried away the cooks and all their pots during a rather posh dinner party. Things had been going so well on the night up to that point. Such a shame. (Kenny, the builder I used to renovate my house in Portstewart, wishes to point out that he, nor his ancestors, had anything to do with the construction work in this part of the building)

After this, it was abandoned by the MacDonnell clan (no doubt once they became sickened with take away food) and local history gets a bit hazy...

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Photo Information
  • Copyright: Peter Lavery (Catspjm) Silver Star Critiquer [C: 28 W: 0 N: 6] (153)
  • Genre: Miejsca
  • Medium: Kolorowe
  • Date Taken: 2005-11-19
  • Categories: Zamki
  • Naświetlenie: f/3.6, 1/30 sekund
  • More Photo Info: view
  • Wersja zdjęcia: Oryginalna wersja
  • Date Submitted: 2006-01-17 5:17
Viewed: 2495
Points: 2
Additional Photos by Peter Lavery (Catspjm) Silver Star Critiquer [C: 28 W: 0 N: 6] (153)
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