Red Bay Castle, Northern Ireland
This evening, I am focusing on Red Bay Castle which is located on
Northern Ireland’s Antrim Coast, near Waterfoot, which overlooks the
Irish Sea towards Scotland.Location is about 30 miles NE of Antrim.
This somewhat innocuous ruin belies a long and complicated history as summarised below, viz:
- The motte dates from the Anglo-Norman period of around the 12th century with the castle possibly built of wood.
- A new castle was built during the 13th century by two exiled Scotsmen, John and Walter Bisset.
- The surviving stonework represents the remains of a castle built by Sir James McDonnell around 1561.
- McDonnell’s castle was burned to the ground by Shane O’Neill in 1565.
- Castle rebuilt by Sorley Boy McDonnell (1505-1590).
- Restored 1604 but destroyed by the forces of Oliver Cromwell in 1652. (Oliver Cromwell ruled the British Isles as Lord Protector from 1653 until his death in 1658.)
Here is a video clip showing the castle in context of the local landscape –