Real ‘Westeros’: Kinbane Castle

One of the many historic sites along the coast of North Antrim in Northern Ireland - home to what the Tourist Board have termed ‘the real Westeros’!

Kinbane Castle (Caislen Ceinn Bán, White Head Castle, Kenbane Castle) is situated in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, on a long, narrow limestone headland projecting into the sea, approximately 5 km from Ballycastle on the road to Ballintoy. T

he 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 up to it is narrow and stepped. Kinbane Castle is a State Care Historic Monument. It also offers spectacular views of Rathlin Island and Dunagregor Iron Age fort.

A two storey castle was built in 1547 by Colla MacDonnell, brother of Sorley Boy MacDonnell. In 1551 the castle was besieged by English forces under Lord Deputy, Sir James Croft.

During nother siege in 1555 by English forces, the castle was partly destroyed by cannon fire. Rebuilt afterwards, Colla MacDonnell died at the castle in 1558.

The hollow below the castle is known as Lag na Sassenach (Hollow of the English) and it was allegedly during the 16th century that a garrison of English soldiers laying siege to the castle were surrounded and massacred. F

Sorley Boy MacDonnell exchanged the castle with another property at Colonsay with Gillaspick MacDonnell, son of Colla MacDonnell. The castle was then presented to the Owen MacIan Dubh MacAllister, 2nd of Loup, Chief of Clan MacAlister as a reward for their service and loyalty to the MacDonnell clan. Owen MacIan Dubh MacAllister was killed in 1571 during a skirmish with the Carrickfergus garrison, fighting alongside Sorley Boy.

The castle remained in the descendants of the MacAllisters of Kenbane until the 18th century.[4]