28 Oct Dunluce Castle, County Antrim
Dunluce (Dun Lios, the Fort of Enclosures) an Anglo-Norman castle build by Richard de Burgh, Earl of Ulster, about 1300, was taken by the Chief of the MacDonnell clan Somhairle Buidhe (Yellow Charles) in 1560 who reconstructed it. In the wars with the Tudor England, Sorley Boy (as the English colloquially called him) was to prove himself a deep thorn in the flesh of Elizabeth, who alternately wooed and warred with him. Forbidding as his castle, he resisted all political advances. On one occasion Elizabeth sent him documents confirming him in his estates and title as Lord of the Pale. He received the parchment scroll at Dunluce and at once cut it to pieces. “With the sword I won it” he said; “I will never keep it with the sheep skin” but age must give place to progress, and, in his old age, Sorely Boy at Dunluce was sorely reduced by, and submitted carefully to, the English cannon, knowing – as the Irish proverb put it – that “A chip of the oak splits itself”.
Awkward, sinister and silhouetted against the skyline, Dunluce appears to be part of the high sea rock from which it rises. A giddy footway crossed the ditch (20ft broad and 100ft steep) which separates it from the mainland and under the castle rock runs a cave. In 1639 the kitchen and cooks were suddenly precipitated into the depths, since when the castle has been deserted. Beyond the castle may be seen the White Rocks, part of the limestone formation of County Antrim, in which there are no fewer than 27 caves, some of them extending 2 miles under the cliff. A blue flower, Geranium pratense, which grows abundantly in the neighbourhood, is known as the flower of Dunluce.
Dunluce Castle is a must see attraction on your Ireland tours, contact us now to arrange your tour!