Thursday, July 14, 2016

Dunluce Castle, and town. Archeology in Antrim.

The life of common people of the 17th Century preserved.

The ruin of the basalt cliffside Castle Dunluce, dating from the 13th Century, is no longer alone.  With its tale of the later kitchens shearing off and falling into the sea along with 7 cooks (a cobbler escaped), the site is compelling: a must-see for car-wanderers.  Now there is another reason to explore:  a 17th Century town, there at Dunluce, ruins below ground, previously unexplored. See

Dunluce Timeline:

13th Century --  a rural manor was here
15th Century -- fireplace and doorway, part of first fortifications, found. (A settlement was earlier than known, see
1500 --  the MacQuillan family acquired the manor and improved it -- a castle, fortifications.
1550 or so -- Rival MacDonnells from Scotland (Catholic) captured Dunluce castle, and used it as their launching and administrative center for controlling the north Antrim coast.
1584 -- Queen Elizabeth I saw a threat in the Scots incursion and sent soldiers from Dublin to attack. In three days, they had succeeded; the English occupied the site for a year.
1585 -- A MacDonnell known as Sorley Boy returned, pledged allegiance to Elizabeth I, and resumed MacDonnell control.  His son, Randal,continued the relationship with England, with a settlement enlarging and encouraging Scots farmers and merchants (mainly Protestants) to emigrate to Ireland there.  "Plantation activity" -- precursor of the Plantation of Ulster. See
1608 -- Town of Dunluce is established. Cobblestone streets, house remains. Found now:  coins, artifacts, horseshoes, buckles, music memorabilia, board games, a 1550 coin, and so on, from Europe as well as nearby England and Scotland.
1630 -- Dunluce was eclipsed by nearby Coleraine, a town with a harbor and Dunluce had none.
1641 -- Irish rebellion. Catholics were displaced by Protestants, and revolted. Irish rebels (Catholic) burned Dunluce, allegedly deported many Scots back toward Scotland
1680 -- or so.  Dunluce abandoned. Castle remained privately held
1928 -- guardianship of Dunluce Castle stabilized the site