Surrounded by 100-foot cliffs on all sides, Dunluce Castle commands a dramatic location on the North Antrim Coast. One of the most picturesque castles in Northern Ireland, it may date as far back as the 14th century, although records only confirm its existence back to 1513, when it belonged to the MacQuillen clan. Later the headquarters of the MacDonnell clan, the castle was surrounded by a village until a fire wiped it out in 1641.
Today, the mainland courtyard of the castle leads downhill to a narrow crossing where you’ll find buildings dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries. Dunluce Castle is thought to have been the inspiration for Cair Paravel in C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia and has been the site of movies such as Jackie Chan’s The Medallion. On a clear day, you can see across the sea to Islay.
Dunluce Castle sits along the Causeway Coastal Route, about three miles east of Portrush. Without your own car, you can take the train on the Belfast-Derry line to Portrush and from there, connect by bus to the castle. It is open daily from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. from April through September, with shorter opening hours during the low season. The castle is closed Christmas Eve, Christmas and New Year’s Day, and admission costs 5 Euros for adults. Both an audio guide and an iPhone/Android app are available to help you explore the castle on your own.