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Visiting Dunseverick Castle in County Antrim, Northern Ireland

Dunseverick Castle

Once a key ancient Irish site, what’s left of Dunseverick Castle is slowly crumbling into the sea. Learn more about visiting the castle’s picturesque ruins here.

Dunseverick Castle History

Between the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge and the Giant’s Causeway, on a small peninsula of the rocky Antrim Coast, sit the ruins of Dunseverick Castle.

The history of this castle is rooted deep in Irish history. St. Patrick reportedly visited the site in the 5th century and baptized Olcán, a local man who would later become Bishop of Ireland. A well on the cliff’s edge is said to be Saint Patrick’s holy well.

The ancient Slige Midluchra, the High King’s Road, ran from Tara to Dunseverick, making the stone fort that preceded the castle a key ancient Irish site. In the 6th century, Dunseverick was the seat of Fergus Mor MacEirc, or Fergus the Great, who soon came to be the mythical founder of Scotland.

The remains of the castle date back to the 16th century. Sobairce, one of the Kings of Ireland, probably built the castle in 1525. He would have called it Dunsobairce, or Fortress of Sobairce. The O’Cahan family lay claim to the site from 1000 to 1320 and then again from the mid 16th century until 1657 when the last family member left the castle in ruins.

In 1642, during the Irish Confederate Wars, General Robert Munro captured and destroyed the castle. A small residential tower remained until 1978 when it fell into the ocean. Now, all that is left of the castle are the remains of the overgrown gatehouse.

Getting to Dunseverick Castle

Dunseverick Castle is located 7 miles west of Ballycastle and near the Giant’s Causeway. There is a small parking and viewing area on Causeway Road.

If you’re up for a walk, you can view the castle ruins from a safe distance by taking the Causeway Cliff Path; this hiking path runs from the Giant’s Causeway in the west to Dunseverick Harbour in the east.

Many bus tours of the Giants Causeway will also take you past this castle, either for a quick photo opportunity or for a drive-by viewing.

Visiting Dunseverick Castle

The National Trust took in the castle and its earthworks in 1967, making the ruins of this key ancient Irish site freely accessible to all visitors.

The parking lot and viewing area are accessible at all hours of the day, any day of the year, so you can view the castle ruins whenever you please.

Castle Count: 22

Nearby are the ruins of Dunluce Castle, another important Irish site and an key castle in ancient Irish history that is also picturesquely crumbling into the sea. Both of these castles are worth a visit while you tour Northern Ireland on the Antrim Coast!

Ready to visit Dunseverick Castle in County Antrim, Northern Ireland? Plan your trip with these tips.



Visiting Dunseverick Castle in County Antrim, Northern Ireland

Have you visited Dunseverick Castle in County Antrim, Northern Ireland? Tell me about your visit in the comments below!

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