The Bridge and Part of the Castle from the Mainland
On the edge of a rocky outcrop, Dunluce Castles perches precariously as it overlooks the Northern Atlantic Ocean. For years, the seas have threatened to reclaim the castle and take its history along with it. The first castle at Dunluce was built in the 13th century with its location (it’s not an easy approach without the bridge, once a draw bridge) being favourable among early Christians for protection from the Vikings. The castle once had a town, as well, and was the seat for the Earl of Antrim for many a year. Sometime in the 1600s, the castle’s kitchen was taken by the sea which caused the lady of the household to refuse to live there anymore and it has been abandoned ever since.
Nowadays, Dunluce Castle is no longer the seat of power for any Earls or safe haven from vicious invaders but is a testament to the times in which it was forged. Life could be difficult at the castle; far from any major settlement while exposed to the harsh weathers the seas brought. The original occupants would have felt at ease in their safety as the lands around them were left unguarded and open for pillaging by Viking hordes.
Dunluce Castle is well worth a visit as it is a surviving testament to the fear the Vikings struck into the hearts of everyday people that would drive them to build such a castle. Unfortunately for its inhabitants, Dunluce was completed at the tail end of the Viking age but was ready for extensive use during the clashes of the Middle Ages. Visitors today are spoiled by the castle’s superb views which makes it easy to visualise what it must have felt like to live here all those years ago. Stand where earls once stood and survey the surrounding lands. Explore the castle itself and see the impressive stonework which has stood for hundreds of years.
Self Catering in County Antrim
Self Catering in Northern Ireland
Words by John Temke
Image Jennifer Boyer