Kinbane Castle: Fun Things to Know About this Ancient Irish Structure

Kinbane Castle Ruins in County Antrim is one important stop on any Irish Castle tour.  To get there from Dublin Airport by car, be prepared for a journey of about three hours. 

Irish Expressions - Kinbane Castle Ruins.

The route begins along the M1 heading north, crossing the border into Northern Ireland and then taking the M2 heading west once you've reached Belfast.  The A26 and the A44 bring you to the area, and signposts mark the rest of the route to the Castle.     

Things to Know About Kinbane Castle

Here are some fun facts about this amazing Irish landmark.  Hopefully they will entice you to pay a visit in person!

But if that is not possible, you can always use them to impress your friends with your knowledge of one of the most-visited attractions in Ireland.

  • In Country Antrim, Northern Island, Kinbane Castle stands at the very tip of a narrow limestone outcropping over the water.
  • Although very little of the castle remains today, it was once a stunning 16th century two-story structure.
  • Unfortunately, it was destroyed and rebuilt twice in first 40 years of its existence, and restoration today would be nearly impossible, not to mention expensive.
  • However, admiring the views and touring the ruins is well worth your time if you're in the area.
  • The Irish word Kinbane translates into English as White Head. The name refers to the white limestone on which the castle stands.
  • The Castle is situated on a long outcropping that projects right into the sea. This made it a more defensible castle in centuries past, and it adds to the site's beauty today.
  • In 1547, the first Castle was constructed by Colla MacDonnell. Since this early castle was made from wood, it was badly damaged by cannon fire in a 1555 siege by English forces.
  • After the siege, Kinbane Castle was rebuilt. This time, the castle was built using stone, which is what you'll see if you visit the castle today.
  • The Castle was inhabited until the early 18th century. The last documented resident of the castle was a Mrs. MacAlister, of the family that inherited the castle from the MacDonnells. 
  • Kinbane is closely associated with the story called Lag na Sassenach, or Hollow of the English. Legend says that during a battle in the 16th century, fires were lit in the hollow to call for support, and a legion of English soldiers were massacred at the site.
  • While exact proof of that event is hard to come by, it is an oft-repeated legend in this part of Ireland.
  • Today, Kinbane Castle is a single tower. That tower stands in ruin, and the site is no longer inhabitable.
  • If you're a history or architecture fan, a steep cliff walk can offer spectacular views of the castle. 
  • Keep in mind that there is currently no access to the castle. It is private property, but you're welcome to admire it from the exterior or take photos from the cliffside path.

For more information about this Irish landmark, visit this site.

Want More Irish Castles?

It is probably obvious - at Irish Expressions, we love Irish castles!  The Emerald Isle is dotted with hundreds of these incredible structures.  

Sharing pictures and stories about them gives us a deeper sense of connection with Ireland, wherever in the world we happen to be!

We have captured the most amazing pictures and descriptions of Irish castles in an e-book we call "An Illustrated Guide to Irish Castles and Abbeys."

This fun, free guide is available to you to download.  Scroll to the bottom of this page and enter your email to get instant access!

That Was Fun!  Where Can I See More?

Great question! As you can see, exploring the castles of Ireland offers many opportunities for enjoying an Irish experience and expressing your personal Irish side!

For more information of this kind, you might pay a visit to our section on Ireland Sightseeing here!