The Premier Guide to the Dunluce Castle in Northern Ireland

LAST UPDATED: 4/25/23 – Guide to the Dunluce Castle

One of our favorite parts of visiting Ireland was getting to see all of the amazing old buildings, cathedrals, and castles.  Especially the amazing old castles.  On top of being some of the most incredibly beautiful buildings, the history behind these castles is really neat to learn about.  We just could not get enough of the castles.

One of the more amazing castles that we got to see in Ireland was the Dunluce Castle in Northern Ireland.  The castle itself has seen better days, as you can see by the pictures, but the location where the castle was built is absolutely breathtaking.  Talk about your prime real-estate.

The Dunluce Castle in Northern Ireland
The Dunluce Castle was built in one of the most incredible locations we could imagine for a castle.

The History of the Castle

The original Castle was built in the 13th Century by Richard Óg de Burgh, the second Earl of Ulster.  The castle was in the hands of the McQuillan family for much of the 13th century until they were defeated in two major battles by the MacDonnell clan in the late 16th century. 

Dunluce Castle served as the seat for the Earl of Antrim until after the Battle of the Boyne in 1690, when the MacDonnell family became impoverished.  In the last three centuries, the castle has deteriorated, with parts used for other nearby buildings, to its present-day condition.

In this Guide to the Dunluce Castle, I provide you with all of the information you will need to visit this breathtaking castle. This includes when the best times are to visit, where the best locations are to photograph the castle, and what else you can see in the area. With this information in hand, you can plan the trip of a lifetime to see one of Europe’s most breathtaking castles.

The Dunluce Castle in Northern Ireland
If you visit, make sure you check out the viewpoint we outlined in this guide for some great picture opportunities.

We would definitely recommend visiting the Dunluce Castle on any trip to the north coast of Northern Ireland.  It is not every day that you get to see a castle built in such a unique and beautiful landscape.  It’s a shame that the castle has deteriorated so much, but in some ways, its condition only adds to the beauty and mystique of this amazing fortress.

How to Get to the Dunluce Castle

The Dunluce Castle’s close proximity to the Giant’s Causeway and the Carrick-a-Rede Bridge make this area a great stop during any visit to Northern Ireland.  It is such a beautiful area with so much to see.  Not to mention, the people in Northern Ireland could not be any friendlier.

Getting to the castle is pretty easy.  Dunluce Castle is located on the north coast of Northern Ireland and is situated roughly halfway in between the town of Portrush (3.5 miles away) and the Giant’s Causeway (4.4 miles away).  The closest town to the Dunluce Castle is Bushmills, which sits just 2.5 miles to the East.  It’s a great place to stop for food in between exploring.

Dunluce Castle Location Map
The Dunluce Castle is located in very close proximity to the Carrick-a-Rede Bridge and the Giant’s Causeway.

While it was a really fantastic experience to be able to get up close to the castle, some of the best pictures we got of the castle were from a viewpoint nearby. 

It was from this viewpoint that I took the picture above.  In case you are interested, I have included a screenshot of the map of my shots I pulled from Adobe Lightroom for you to review in my Guide to the Dunluce Castle below.  This will let you know exactly where I got my shots.

Dunluce Castle Photography Locations Map
Dunluce Castle Photography Locations Map

Best Time to Visit the Dunluce Castle

Northern Ireland
Coastline near the Dunluce Castle in Northern Ireland.

Northern Ireland is an amazing place to visit year-round, but like most other places in this world, certain times of the year are better than others.  In order to assist you in determining which time of year would be best for you to make your visit, I have outlined several weather and tourism factors in my Guide to the Dunluce Castle below. This will help you make an informed decision on when it would be best for you to plan your visit.

Temperature (F)

While Northern Ireland is blessed in that the temperature typically doesn’t get too hot or too cold for comfort, the temperature does fluctuate throughout the year.  In fact, throughout much of the year, the temperature seems to hover right on the threshold of being too cold to not have a jacket, but too warm to wear it.  To give you a better idea of what kind of whether you can expect on your trip, I have included a chart below that outlines the average high and low temperatures throughout the year.

Precipitation (Inches)

As you can see by the chart that I have included in my Guide to the Dunluce Castle below, Northern Ireland tends to get quite a bit of rain throughout the year.  This is especially true along the coastline.  If you are looking to avoid the rain, I would suggest targeting the late spring months of April and May as they tend to see the lowest amount of rain during the year.

Number of Visitors (International Tourists)

Northern Ireland tends to get a fairly steady stream of tourists from the rest of the UK and elsewhere in Europe throughout the year, but it sees the number of tourists from North America and elsewhere around the world steadily grow throughout the spring into summer.  The peak tourist months for Northern Ireland are undoubtedly the summer months of July and August.  If you are looking to avoid the crowds, I would suggest you look at visiting sometime between November and March.

Ireland Average Tourists Chart

Where to Stay Near the Dunluce Castle

The Dunluce Castle in Northern Ireland
The Dunluce Castle in Northern Ireland.

There are quite a few tourist attractions bunched up into one small area on the Northern coast of Northern Ireland so I would recommend staying somewhere in that area to be close to all of the sights.  To assist you in finding the right accommodations for you, I have included a list of recommended hotels and other accommodations and different price points for you to review below.

The Dunluce Castle Hotels Map
The Dunluce Castle Hotels Map

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Where to Eat Near the Dunluce Castle

Guide to the Dunluce Castle - Food

After you have spent an afternoon exploring the Dunluce and the surrounding area, you are going to want to find a good place to eat.  The following restaurants are the most recommended restaurants in the area on TripAdvisor.

Tartine RestaurantIrish, European, British$$ – $$$
The French RoomsEuropean, Vegetarian Friendly$$ – $$$
The Red Door Tea RoomIrish, Vegetarian Friendly$$ – $$$
Causeway Hotel RestaurantIrish, Bar, European$$ – $$$
Roark’s KitchenDessert, Irish, Cafe$

Other Things to See in the Area

The coastline near the Carrick-a-rede Bridge in Northern Ireland.

In addition to Dunluce Castle, there are a number of other popular tourist attractions in the area that you can see.  If you are looking for some additional things to do, I have included a list of additional stops that I recommend below.

Northern Ireland Attractions Map
Northern Ireland Attractions Map

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The Dunluce Castle
The Giant’s Causeway
The Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge
The Dark Hedges

Visiting the Dunluce Castle

In case you would like a better sense of what it is like to visit the Dunluce Castle, I have included a short video tour for you in my guide to the Dunluce Castle below.  You can see first-hand just how beautiful the castle is perched upon the high cliffs.

If you would like to see some more beautiful pictures of the castle, I have included a gallery of my best photos for you to look at in my guide to the Dunluce Castle below.  It really is a fantastic landscape for pictures and an incredible location for a castle.

If you would like to view some more of my top photos from this trip, as well as photos from some of my many other travel adventures, make sure you are following me on Instagram as well!


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Categories: Castles, Europe, Europe Travel Guides, Ireland, Travel, Travel Guides, United KingdomTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. Great article. I hope to get to Ireland one day.

  2. Lovely shots, nice work!

  3. Those pictures are stunning! I’ve always wanted to go to Ireland. I have a lot of ancestry there anyway – but def will visit the coast and castles for sure! There’s another castle to add to my list to visit 😁

  4. Thank you for this blog – I am planning a trip to Northern Ireland and now I have to see Dunluce Castle. Oh, and your photos are beautiful!! <3

  5. Indeed our visit was amazing too.

  6. What an awesome location for a castle! Will have to visit soon!

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