Burt Castle is one of the most recognizable castles in Donegal being located on a small hill overlooking Lough Swilly. This would have originally been a small island surrounded by tidal marshland. It was built around 1560 and was one in a network of castles around Inishowen owned by the O’Doherty’s – The Lords of Inishowen. They started loosing control of their lands in the 1500’s and eventually had to ‘bend the knee’ before King Henry VIII to hold onto what they had. This process was called ‘surrender and re grant’. This brought the Irish chieftains into the English legal system with the downside that the King could (and would!) take back the land and grant it to however he chose. The castle fell in and out of the O’Doherty’s ownerships and it was recorded that brothers Richard and Henry Hovenden resided here in 1587 under the instruction to resist the Spanish Armada. It was later occupied by Sir Henry Dowcra, an English soldier who was sent to subdue a rebellion during the 9 years war of 1594 – 1603. Sir Cahir O’Doherty took up residence here in 1601 during Queen Elizabeth’s reign and as he had sided with Dowcra he became known as ‘The Queen’s O’Doherty’. Cahir had also been on the jury that had found the northern Irish Earls guilty of treason. He, himself was arrested for the same reason a few years later by Dowcra’s successor Sir George Paulet. He was eventually released on £1000 bail and soon went on to carry out his famous rebellion by sacking Derry, Strabane and Lifford (killing Paulet in the process). The castle eventually fell into the hands of Sir Arthur Chichester who quelled the rebellion and was granted O’Doherty’s 170,000 acres of land after he was hung, drawn and quartered! The structure had 3 stories, 2 circular watch towers, a small vaulted chamber and openings for muskets. A medallion dated to 1525 and a coin to 1547 was found near the castle. It was recorded that the castle was in ruins by 1833 and has suffered further damage since.