The ruins of Kinbane Castle are one of several medieval structures that you’ll find dotted along the Causeway Coastal Route.
Plonked on a craggy headland between the towns of Ballycastle and Ballintoy, Kinbane Castle boasts a colourful history.
In the guide below, you’ll find info on everything from the walk down to eat to where to grab coffee nearby. Dive on in.
Some quick need-to-knows before visiting Kinbane Castle in Antrim
Although a visit to Kinbane Castle is fairly straightforward, there are a few need-to-knows that’ll make your visit that bit more enjoyable.
You’ll find the ruins of Kilbane Castle dramatically located on a craggy headland between Ballycastle (5-minute drive) and Ballintoy (10-minute drive). It’s also a handy 10-minute spin from Carrick-a-rede and 15-minutes from Whitepark Bay Beach.
There’s a decent bit of parking near Kinbane Castle here. For the most part, you shouldn’t have much hassle grabbing a spot, unless you visit during the busier summer season.
3. Steps (warning!)
To reach Kinbane Castle, you’ll need to make your way down 140 steps. This is a steep aul descent and ascent, so it isn’t suitable for those with limited mobility. Pay particular care after rainfall. We’d also avoid walking up the hill past the castle, as it’s steep and uneven.
4. Part of the Causeway Coastal Route
Kinbane Castle is one of many stops on the Casueway Coastal Route. It tends to get overlooked by many, but it’s one of the more unique castles in Northern Ireland and it’s well worth a nosey around.
The history of Kinbane Castle
The story of Kinbane Castle begins way back in 1547 when Colla MacDonnell, the son of the Lord of Islay and Kintyre, built a castle where the current ruins stand.
The original Kinbane Castle saw its fair share of action over the years. It was very nearly obliterated during several sieges by the English in the 1550s.
Deaths at the castle
It was rebuilt soon after. Then, in 1558, Colla MacDonnell died at the castle. Information around his passing is scarce, but it appears that it was natural, and not as a result of another siege.
Kinbae has a hollow beneath it which is know as the ‘Hollow of the English’. According to local legend, it earned its name during another siege by English soldiers. During the siege, the soldiers were surrounded and subsequently killed.
Kinbane Castle was then inherited by Colla’s son, Gillaspick. Tragedy struck in 1571 when Gillaspick was accidentally killed in nearby Ballycastle during a celebration where there was bullfighting taking place (he was gored by a bull).
Kinbane’s later years
Kinbane Castle was later given to Clan MacAlister, a Scottish Clan, to thank them for their loyalty during numerous conflicts.
The castle remained in the ownership of the MacAlisters until some point during the 1700s. It was then purchased by the Woodside family from Ballycastle. The castle is now in ruins.
Things to do at Kinbane Castle
There’s a handful of things to see and do in and around Kinbane Castle, from coffee and the walk to viewpoints and more.
1. Grab something tasty from Brew With A View
Brew With A View is a fine little spot for a coffee or a very sweet treat. It’s a mobile coffee shop finely plonked in the car park at Kinbane.
You’ll get all of the usual coffees from this place, along with everything from Frappe’s and smoothies to locally produced ice cream and some very funky baked bits, like Creme Egg Brownies.
2. Enjoy the views as you descend the steps
So, the steps here (there’s 140 of them!) can be a bit tiring, but there’s plenty to soak up along the way.
When you leave the car park and you start to make your way around the trail alongside the cliffs, you’ll be treated to some glorious coastal views.
If you need a breather, there’s everything from craggy cliff-face to crashing waves on offer. Take your time and enjoy the ramble.
3. Have a nosey around the castle
Kinbane Castle is now in ruins, but you can still climb up to it and have a nosey around. Just avoid walking to the top of the headland, as it’s steep and you’ll do yourself serious injury if you loose your footing.
Now, while there are steps up to the castle itself, just be weary of the path that leads up to the bottom of the headland, as it’s uneven and it can get slippy underfoot.
Places to visit near Kinbane Castle
One of the beauties of Kinbane is that it’s a short spin away from many of the best things to do in Antrim.
Below, you’ll find a handful of things to see and do a stone’s throw from Kinbane Castle (if you’re feeling hungry, there’s plenty of restaurants in Ballycastle a short spin away).
1. Carrick-a-rede Rope Bridge (10-minute drive)
The very unique Carrick-a-rede Rope Bridge is one of the more popular things to do in Northern Ireland. You can grab a ticket at a booth near the car park and then it’s a short walk down to the bridge.
2. Dunseverick Castle (15-minute drive)
Dunseverick Castle is another rocky ruin worth a visit. Its long and fascinating history, filled with legend and folklore, plus its cliff-edge location, make a visit here one that you’ll remember.
3. Whitepark Bay Beach (15-minute drive)
Whitepark Bay Beach is arguably one of the most beautiful beaches in Ireland. And, although you can’t swim here, it’s well worth strolling along when visiting the area.
4. Heaps more attractions
FAQs about Kinbane Castle
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from what is the Kinbane Castle Game of Thrones link to where to park.
In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.
How many steps does Kinbane Castle have?
There are 140 steps at Kinbane Castle. This makes it a tough climb down to the ruins and back up.
Who built Kinbane Castle?
The castle was originally built by Colla MacDonnell in 1547.
What is the Kinbane Castle Game of Thrones link?
There is none! Despite popular belief online, the castle was not one of the GoT filming locations.
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