The Giant’s Causeway part of a stunning stretch of coastline called the Causeway Coast, but if you don’t fancy driving it, there are a couple of other must visit places close by, including Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge and Dunluce Castle, used as the location of Castle Greyjoy in Game of Thrones.
Tucked away on a cliffside west of the Giant’s Causeway, Dunluce Castle gives you a real “wow” moment as it comes into view.
The castle, which balances on the edge of a rocky outcrop is accessed via a bridge which connects it to the mainland.
This stunning castle reminded me of our visit to Dunnottar Castle in Scotland as is surrounded on three sides by 100 foot cliffs!
The medieval castle, which was built in the 1500’s, is now a ruin, but still has partial remains of its round corner towers and outer wall, which makes it perfect for exploring.
The self-led tour starts you at the Brew House, through the Gate House and into what would have been the old Manor House.
The castle was originally built by the Earl of Ulster until the MacDonnells overtook it in the mid 1550’s.
There are a few information boards dotted around the site with historical facts and points of interest, although I would recommend you pick up a leaflet when you purchase your tickets, to understand exactly where you are.
Inside the remains of the Manor House you can clearly see where the first floor would have been and one of the bay windows has been reconstructed to give some extra stability to the building and to give an impression of what the original windows would have looked like.
There are plenty of nooks and crannies for the kids to explore, including an old oven and fireplaces.
Although much of the castle is on one level, you can climb the old stone staircase in the North East Tower, to look across the the ruins below.
Dunluce has a very dramatic history, although the kids favourite stories were the ghostly tale of the banshee, who apparently haunts the northeast tower and how the castle kitchens fell into the sea one stormy night in 1639.
From the castle, there are are several points where you can stop and look at the surrounding coastline and to the west are the stunning limestone cliffs of the White Rocks which are home to a network of caves and arches, including the Wishing Arch.
Below the castle ruins is an underground cave and a passage that leads to a pebble beach, but sadly for us, it was closed for repairs during our visit.
Opening times for the castle are 10 am to 5 pm daily, with last entry at 4.30pm.
Dunluce Castle is suitable for all, however, young children must be supervised at all times and some areas of the castle are not accessible for wheelchairs and pushchairs.
A family ticket (up to 5 members, including up to 3 adults) costs £15.00 and I would advise that you wrap up warm, as even on a calm day, the wind howls around the castle walls!!