Dunluce Castle, Bushmills, Northern Ireland. Dramatically poised on a cliff overlooking the sea in Northern Ireland, Dunluce Castle is undoubtedly one of the best castles in Ireland. But the sheer drop-offs surrounding the castle on every side still couldn’t protect it from being conquered by the fearsome MacDonnell clan.
Unfortunately, the castle was so precariously perched that the kitchen literally fell into the sea during a particularly bad storm and the beautiful 16th-century structure was abandoned. The earliest written record of Dunluce Castle dates back to 1513, though the foreboding structure was probably built a few years earlier around 1500. The castle perched on a cliff in what is now northern County Antrim was built by the McQuillan family – but they were unable to hold onto their dramatic castle for very long.
In the 1550s, the MacDonnell family seized Dunluce Castle for themselves. The castle was conquered by the Scottish clan’s famous chieftain, Sorley Boy. Because Dunluce is surrounded by sheer drop-offs on every side, the warrior chief had to get an accomplice on the inside. He arranged to have heavily armed soldiers pulled up into attacking position by being hoisted up inside a basket that hung over the side of the cliff.