This interesting little building is located in Buncrana on the estuary of the Crana River and is locally  known as ‘O’Doherty’s Keep’. The structure resembles a fortified tower house from the 15th century but recent excavations believe that it is actually the remains of a 13th century Norman castle that was never recorded! It later came into the possession of the O’Doherty clan who enlarged it and added a 3rd floor. It was then used for defense and security as part of their network of castles in Inishowen during the 15th century. In 1588 it housed Spanish Armada soldiers that were rescued by Sean Óg O’Doherty that had been shipwrecked in Kinnegoe Bay. In 1608 Sir Cahir O’Doherty (Sean Og’s son) lead a rising against the English garrison in Derry and the keep was burned in reprisal. In one of Harry Swan’s books on Inishowen, there is a photograph of a collection of swords, daggers and pike heads found under the keep which backs up this fact and were supposed to have been belonged to Sir Cahir. After this event, all of Inishowen including this keep was granted to Sir Arthur Chichester. Chichester then subsequently leased it to a fellow Englishman called Henry Vaughan who re-planned Buncrana and also lived here with his family until they built the nearby manor house known as Buncrana Castle in 1718. It is believed that Wolfe Tone, the leader of the 1798 Rising, was imprisoned here after his capture aboard a French Frigate in Lough Swilly before he was taken to Dublin Castle. Today the keep is roofless but is under State protection.

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