Exploring Ireland: Kinbane Castle, Ballycastle, County Antrim, Northern Ireland

Kinbane Castle is one of those places that you can't quite believe is true. I really had no idea what to expect as I'd never heard of it but as soon as I clapped eyes on it, it blew me away.

Located in Country Antrim, the ruins of Kinbane are perched high on a white limestone cliff overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Across the horizon you'll spy Rathlin Island and you'll be only 5km from Ballycastle. The original two-storey castle was built in 1547 by Colla MacDonell but was besieged by English forces in 1551. After being passed to Owen MacAllister as a reward for his loyalty to the MacDonell family, the castle remained with descendants of the MacAllister's until the 18th Century.

There's  no easy way to see Kinbane and you'll have to be prepared for a lot of treacherous walking. Up and down 1000 steps to be exact. But it is 100% worth it and I'd do it thousand times over. You'll find a car park at the top of the hill when you can leave your car. Make sure you take a bottle of water with you. There are no handrails surrounding the top of the cliffs so you have to be extremely careful. It's certainly not a place to go when it is windy. But if you keep your wits about you then you'll be rewarded with some insane views. I really couldn't stop taking photos! 

At the minute it seems to be a bit of a hidden gem because we hardly saw any other people. I'm not sure it will stay like this for long because tourism in Northern Ireland is quickly gathering momentum. Such a double edge sword. Amazing because Northern Ireland is honestly one of the most beautiful places in the world. But sad because it's losing some of it's magic due to the insane crowds. It doesn't have the infrastructure to deal with it. I feel it's a place to visit sooner rather than later. I'd love to go back one summer with a picnic and spend the whole day up on those cliffs. I honestly don't think I've ever felt as peaceful as I did in those few hours I spent at Kinbane Castle. Such a magical place.

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