Standing alone on the edge of a tall rock, steep drops down to the sea on every side, and only connected to the mainland by a wooden bridge, Dunluce Castle has always been shrouded in mystery. Used as a fort ever since the Vikings sailed to the north coast of Ireland, the castle witnessed a turbulent, and violent, history until it fell into ruins in the 1600s.
|The spectacular cliff top setting of Northern Ireland's Dunluce Castle|
It is no wonder that myths and legends should have grown up around the abandoned castle. Sightings of ghosts, giants and mythological creatures abound, and the site is reputed to have been the inspiration for the mysterious Cair Paravel, the royal castle of C S Lewis’ Narnia.
An early ghost was a woman in white who stood on the cliff and gazed out to sea each day at sunset. Perhaps she was waiting for a ship, or perhaps she was looking across to the nearby Scottish coast. Whatever her motives, she disappeared after one of the castle’s residents tried to speak to her.
More dramatic is the story of the castle kitchen slipping into the sea in the 17th century, taking all of the kitchen staff (apart from a young boy who cowered in the corner) with it. According to the legend, the cries of the doomed workers as they fell into the sea can still be heard on stormy nights!
Today Dunluce sits peacefully beside the road, along the Causeway Coastal Route, a popular place for tourists to soak up the castle’s history and romantic atmosphere. But when the mist comes down and there is no sound but the screeching of seabirds it is almost possible to imagine the sights and sounds of its ghostly past.
|The castle is connected to the mainland by a wooden bridge|