When I arrived to Dunluce Castle it had not opened jet so I took the path down to Mermaid’s Cave below the cliffs. When I came up again some more people had arrived and were taking photos. The gates were soon opened and I went inside and paid admission. No more people entered the gates and it turned out that the other people had just stopped to take photos from the outside, so I was the only visitor when I was there. In the reception they told me that that was not uncommon. Admission is only £2 (March 2011) and I would strongly recommend others to pay and enter, and not just take a quick look from the outside.
I started the tour in the building opposite the reception and souvenir store, where I saw a short film about the castle’s history. The narrator was a descendent of the Mac Donnell family, rulers of the castle. It was interesting and then I went on to the courtyard and crossed the bridge over to the part where the main buildings/ruins are. The cliffs surrounding the ruins are very steep and the view along the coast impressive!
Dunluce Castle is open between 10 - 18 from Easter to September, and between 10 - 16 from October and Easter.
Dunluce Castle is on the North Antrim coast and is a fascinating ruin. It is located on the edge of a cliff and has fantastic views up and down the coast and also to Rathlin Island. The castle was built in the 16th century and was a main stronghold of the MacDonnells. There is an early Christian souterrain which is intersting to visit and many original features of the castle are still visible, including the pre-17th century loggia. It has a sad history in that none of it's owners were ever happy living there and in 1639, the castle kitchen collapsed into the sea, taking with it several servants.It is miles from any town which gives it a feel of isolation and makes it a favourite spot for photographs but is easily accessable and worth a visit.
The Spanish Armada galleass 'Girona' was wrecked near this spot and many finds from the wreck are on display at the Ulster Museum in Belfast.
There are no buses passing Dunluce Castle, not during the week in off season anyway, so I took the bus from Ballintoy at 9.00 to Portballintrae. The bus ride took 20 minutes and it was £3.10 (March 2011). From Portballintrae it was another 20-25 minutes walk to Dunluce Castle. It was not difficult to find the way, I just walked west towards Portrush. There is no path along the coast so I followed the road.
Leaving Dunluce Castle I walked the same way back to Portballintrae. In Portballintrae I continued to the long beach Bushfoot Strand and followed it to the end where there was a path over the sand dunes and on to Giant’s Causway Visitor Centre (which was not there as it was being rebuilt). The walk from Dunluce Castle to Causeway Hotel took 1hour and 5-10 minutes and had been very pleasant.