Castle Dunluce Ruins were the Inspiration for Cair Paravel

Dunluce Castle (DĂșn Libhse) is on 85 Dunluce Road, in the town of Bushmills, the County Antrim, Northern Ireland.

Dunluce Castle was initially built by Richard Og de Burgh, 2nd Earl of Ulster, in the 1400’s though Dunluce was not documented until 1513. The McQuillan family became lords of the Route (a medieval territory) and lived and added to the Dunluce Castle seen today. As time would pass and the family would grow, one of the young sons of the McQuillan family saw a woman in a white dress standing on the cliffs edge where he watched her disappate into the wind. No one believed him and 16 years passed by when suddenly the towns folk around Dunluce Castle began speaking of a woman in white dress walking along the shore below the castle. The same McQuillan son, now in his 30’s, went down to the sea to speak with her and after that she never appeared again.

Towards the end of the 1500’s the McQuillans lost 2 major battles to the Clan MacDonnell who then became the Lords of Route and dwellers of Castle Dunluce.

During the MacDonnell time of residency, in 1639, part of the castle including the kitchens broke off the castle and slid down the slopes to the sea. It is believed that 7 cooks died and only a kitchen boy who was sitting in a corner survived.

The MacDonnell clan lived in Castle Dunluce until 1690 when the Battle of the Boyne occurred. After that Dunluce Castle no longer served as the seat of the Earl of Antrim and it was abandoned.

It is said the Castle Dunluce was the inspiration for C. S. Lewis’ Cair Paravel in the Chronicles of Narnia books (Read or Watch). The castle has been featured in the Led Zeppelin album artwork for ‘Houses of the Holy‘ and as the album cover for ‘Glasgow Friday’ by Jandek. It was the hideout ‘Ravens Keep’ in the movie ‘The Medallion‘.

The image below is a photo mechanical print from the late 1890’s of the Dunluce Castle ruins.

Where is the abandoned medieval castle ruins of Dunluce located? You can find it with these coordinates. 55.211368,-6.579158

All images used and licensed under CC BY 2.0. Images 1, 2, 4 and 5 by Jennifer Boyer / Flickr.


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