The 13th Century Dunluce Castle occupies a dramatic and perilous position on Antrim’s Atlantic coast. The exterior of this superb Celtic castle was even featured in the HBO series, Game of Thrones, and just the sight of it would be enough to inspire any storyteller worth their salt.
Little wonder that tales of mysterious cries and ghostly figures have been circulated over hundreds of years.
In the 16th Century, castle owner, Lord MacQuillan, arranged a suitor for his only daughter, Maeve. But Maeve was in love with another man and refused to accede to her father’s wishes. Angered by her perceived belligerence, MacQuillan locked her in one of the castle turrets. There she waited for her true love to come and rescue her, and that he did on one wild, stormy night. The young lovers made their ill-fated escape, climbing aboard a small rowing boat, and heading out across the unforgiving sea towards Portrush. But the storm overtook them, and they were soon tossed into the icy cold waters where they perished in each other’s arms.
It is claimed that terrifying, plaintive cries are heard emanating from the northeast tower of Dunluce Castle on stormy nights and that this is Mauve’s forlorn spirit, incarcerated once more in the tower and lamenting her lost love.
A disputed story relates to the destruction of the castle kitchens in the 17th century. It is said that part of the kitchen crumbled into the sea during a fierce storm and that several of the servants and cooks who were preparing for a banquet, perished as the floor disappeared and a watery grave consumed them. Some claim that their cries can still be heard on nights when the sea is rough and the wind is high, while others claim that this tale is nonsense!
The ghost of an English army captain who was hanged at the castle is also said to walk the halls, while a woman in white was once reported to have appeared on the cliff edge each day at sunset, looking out to sea.
Dunluce Castle is open to the public and is accessible via a bridge.
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