Located on the Antrim coast of Northern Ireland and part of the Causeway Coastal Route, Kinbane Castle is easy to miss but try not to…

Watch for the sign as you head out of Ballycastle towards the Giants Causeway. If you’re expecting a grand medieval style castle, you’re going to be disappointed. This looks more like a couple of abandoned out buildings but it’s interesting to see.

View of the castle from the shore

The name Kinbane means white head and refers to the white limestone on which the castle stands. Not much of the castle remains, and the path down to it is narrow and stepped.

View along the coast from Kinbane

The castle was built by the MacDonnell clan, who also built many other castles and buildings in the area. This was the time when the MacDonnell’s were the most powerful clan along the Antrim Coast. It was completed in about 1547 but was destroyed in fighting with the English only eight years later. There is a story that a group of English soldiers were trapped during a siege of the castle. Fires were lit by the besieged to call for help and locals responded and arrived armed surrounding the besieging soldiers who were massacred in the area in or near a hollow cave under the castle called the “Hollow of the English”. The castle was rebuilt and remained inhabited until the 1700’s. It was then abandoned and fell into decay. The only thing that stands today is the ruins of a small tower and few remnants of the wall.


Kinbane Castle isn’t a great destination on its own but if you’re visiting other attractions nearby, is well worth a visit. On a good day, the view from the car park at the top of the headland is amazing and you may be able to see across to Scotland.

If you’re looking for something to eat close by, I would recommend the Central Wine Bar in Ballycastle. The food and service are great! If you like their wine glasses and want to buy some for yourself, they’re ‘open up’ glasses by Chef and Sommelier.