Kinbane Castle Nov 2012





Kinbane Castle (also known as Kenbane, meaning "white headland") is a little-known jewel in the North Coast of County Antrim. A secluded ruin at the bottom of a steep cliff face, the castle commands excellent views of the surrounding coastline with Fair Head to the East and Rathlin Island to the North. Travelling further west will take you past Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge and on to the Giants Causeway.

There is an air of peace and solitude at Kinbane which is difficult to find elsewhere, perhaps because the castle is slightly off the beaten track. It is situated atop a huge limestone outcrop which rises from the rocky shore to 100 feet at its far end. 


Kinbane Castle was built in 1546-7 by Colla MacDonnell, younger brother of the notorious Sorley Boy MacDonnell. Less than ten years later, in 1555, the castle was partially destroyed by English forces using cannon.
Prior to the introduction of cannon as a weapon, Kinbane, like Dunluce Castle was virtually impregnable because of its positioning on a high cliff. The steep headland and rough seas surrounding it would have made for a difficult approach and a difficult getaway.




Following it's partial destruction, Kinbane was repaired and continued to be occupied after this setback. After Colla MacDonnell died in 1558, the castle was inherited by one of his sons, Gillaspic. Sorley Boy took over Kenbane when he exchanged another property with Gillaspic. The castle was then presented to the MacAlister family by Sorley Boy as a reward for their loyalty to the MacDonnell clan.
It's also worth noting that Gillaspic died in 1570 on his 'coming of age' celebration, which was organised by Sorley Boy MacDonnell in his honor. Several sources cite these games as the origins of Ballycastle's Auld Lammas Fair.

According to rumour, Kenbane Castle was lived in until the 1700's and the last person to inhabit the castle was a Mrs. McAlister. Some say it was also used at a time as a smuggling outpost. 





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