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Kinbane Castle.

County Antrim.


Kinbane Castle.

The remains of Kinbane Castle stand on a limestoneKinbane Castle. promontory known as Kinbane Head, (White headland) it is located about 5 km (3 miles) from Ballycastle on the north east corner of County Antrim, to get to the castle take the B15 south from Ballycastle and look for the sign for Kinbane Head.

The two storey castle was built in 1547 by Colla younger brother of Sorley Boy MacDonnell, in 1551 the castle was besieged by English forces commanded by Lord Deputy, Sir James Croft, it was around this period that cannons were beginning to be used, some time later the English again siege the castle this time partially destroying it by cannon fire.

Kinbane castle was repaired, Colla MacDonnell's death is recorded in 1558, it is thought he was buried in Bonamargy Friary.

There is a tradition that a number of English soldiers were massacred sometime in the 1500's in a hollow below or near the castle, this place was known as Lag na Sassenach (Hollow of the English) The story relates that the defenders lit a prearranged signal fire which brought their clansmen to the castle where they surrounded and massacred the soldiers.

Sorley Boy MacDonnell gained ownership of the castle by exchanging it for one on Colonsay with his nephew Gillaspick MacDonnell, he then gave the castle to the Owen MacIan Dubh MacAllister, 2nd of Loup, Chief of Clan MacAlister as a reward for their service and loyalty to the MacDonnell clan. MacAllister was killed in 1571 during a skirmish with the Carrickfergus garrison, fighting alongside Sorley Boy. The castle remained in the MacAllisters family until the 1700's

Today visitors to the castle will find a large car park, with toilets and picnic tables. Access to the castle is via a stairway cut into the cliff, the return journey could be more than a little tiring unless you are extremely fit.

Watch a video of Kinbane Castle.

Kinbane Castle from "Sketches of olden days in Northern Ireland" by Rev Forde.