A Hidden Gem on the Antrim Coast

One of my favorite castles has to be Kinbane. It's precariously placed on a small limestone headland jutting into the sea; the only remaining tower of the castle stands above a sea cave and the cliffs and crashing waves on all sides makes for such a dramatic scene. It's less striking than Dunluce Castle, which is nearby, but because of that famous neighbor and the epic stairway down to Kinbane, this castle is almost always more quiet. Off season and on days with less than perfect weather and you'll usually be able to explore the castle and surrounding area without any company. The island of Rathlin lies off in the distance and beyond that, visible on clear days, is Scotland. It's always so fascinating to go to these places and think about the way people used to live. On these islands so much travel was done by water and it's clear to see why--I mean you can see Scotland with your naked eye and other nearer islands feel only a stone's throw away. I remember exploring a Scottish island a few summers ago and how traveling through the island from one village to another took hours, but a local explained that going from village to village or port to port by boat could be done in half the time or less. The villages were placed to be accessed by water, not by land, but in modern times we are more accustomed to car travel than boat travel. kinbane-16 kinbane-10-side
kinbane-23I shared a wee video from Kinbane Castle on my Tiktok recently and many comments talked about how they would love to have seen it back in the day and imagined a princess living here and coming back to find it destroyed...but Kinbane was never that sort of castle. It was built for defense and attacked and partially destroyed only a few years after it was built! Likely the only people to ever reside in Kinbane were soldiers positioned here to keep an outlook on the sea and give other areas warning by lighting signal fires when an attack was coming. Again, Dunluce has a few more romantic legends surrounding it (stories of doomed lovers!) because it was far larger and built to house clan and family. I've tried to find legends and stories from Kinbane, but other than a few tragic stories of attacks and subsequent deaths there doesn't seem to be much romance or magic in its history. Still there's a lot of "scope for the imagination" in this region and scene. We can all dream up our own legends for this wee castle and surrounding landscape. I'll keep looking for more local legends, maybe there is a story here just waiting to be discovered...kinbane-19 kinbane-8-side kinbane-2 kinbane-21


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