The Keep

Dundrum Castle

Dún Droma "Fort of the Ridge"

Dundrum Castle is one of a series of castles built by Anglo-Norman invaders in the latter part of the 12th century. The castle stands on a rocky hill with commanding views of Dundrum Bay and the Mourne Mountains. During excavations evidence of even earlier occupation of the site was found. After conquering much of Ulster, John de Courcy, who also built a stronghold at Carrickfergus, made the rock cut ditch here at Dundrum and built a wall around it in c.1180. This area is known as the upper ward. In the early 13th century Hugh de Lacy, under orders from King John, defeated de Courcy in battle.

17th century mansion

Gateway into lower ward

De Lacy was responsible for building the round keep within the upper ward. In 1210 King John took control of the castle before it was handed back to de Lacy during his second tenure as Earl of Ulster (1227-1243). It was around this period the gatehouse was added to the upper ward. During the later middle ages the castle was in the hands of the Magennis family of Mourne, who probably built the curtain wall around the lower ward. The castle was dismantled by Cromwellian troops in 1652. The L shaped mansion in the lower ward was built by the Blundell family in about the 1660s. This is a superb Norman fortress and a visit is strongly recommended. A few families who were taking advantage of the warm summer had picnics on the castle grounds.

Looking east

Keep interior

Situated: Heading north on the A2 through Dundrum take a left turn onto Manse Road. (Sign-posted Dundrum Castle). Then take a right up Castle Hill.

Discovery Map 29: J 4040 3701. Last visit July 2013.

Longitude: 5° 50' 42" W

Latitude: 54° 15' 45" N

Google Map

Photos: Jim Dempsey.

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