Emerald Isle

The Haunting of Dunluce

Irish and Celtic myths and legends, Irish folklore and Irish fairy tales and Irish Ghost Stories

A sad tale of love lost

Little remains now of once-proud Dunluce castle, whose halls had echoed with the sounds of laughter and music, and whose vaulted arches had defied the most ferocious storms. Only echoes and shadows are left behind, and some say, the tormented ghost of a young lady waiting for her love to return!

The castle had originally been built by Richard Óg de Burgh in the thirteenth century, but shortly afterwards it passed to the McQuillan clan, who turned it into a mighty fortress and became known as Lords of the Route. The de Burghs weren't finished with it yet though, and Richard Óg was after the hand of Lord McQuillan's daughter, Maeve Rua!

She wasn't taken with him though, and had secretly given her heart to a young man called Reginald O'Cahan. Her father was angry with her defiance and locked her up in the dank and gloomy north east turret of the keep, but every day and night she watched by the window of her prison, waiting for rescue from her love.

And come he did, under cover of night and a storm which blinded the guards to his little boat! Reginald made his way with stealth up to her cell and released her, and they escaped amid howling winds and driving rain into a sea cave among the rocks below Dunluce, pushing out the little boat for freedom and Portrush.

But alas the boat was no match for the wild seas, being tossed hither and yon without mercy until eventually the white fangs of the ocean turned the boat over and it was shattered against the rocks! Maeve and Reginald held one another as the boat sank into the cold depths of the sea, from where Maeve's body was never recovered.

And now, they say her spirit haunts the ruined north east tower of Dunluce castle, especially on stormy nights, when sorrowful wails and moans can be heard echoing amid the thunder, as Maeve await her rescue still.

Dunluce castle can be found on the map below.

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