Dunluce Castle, Bushmills. County Antrim       c. 14th – 17th century a. d.

This is one of Northern Ireland’s most iconic castles and its image is used extensively to market Northern Ireland as a holiday destination. This was a perfect defensive location to build a castle as access and escape could be restricted by either crossing the narrow bridge or by using the underground sea cave. The outer walls and round towers were built by the MacQuillans in the 14th century and MacDonnell clan added most of the remaining castle in the 16th and 17th centuries. The two openings in the old gatehouse were designed for cannons that Sorely Boy MacDonnell salvaged from a Spanish Armada galleon called the Girona which sank nearby during the storms of 1588. On the grassy area beside the castle are the remains of 3 terraces, a bowling green, stables, a corn drying kiln, a great hall and lodgings that were used for important visitors. There is a famous story that occurred in 1639 when part of the kitchen fell into the sea and killed many of the kitchen staff during a lavish dinner party. In 1973 the castle also appeared on the multi-million selling Led Zeppelin album ‘Houses of the Holy’.