I have Netflix to thank for the very first stop on our main adventure. We watched a hilarious Irish movie earlier this year called The Young Offenders. It’s about two young scallywags from Cork who go on a big adventure to find a bale of cocaine washed ashore from a drug trafficking boat. It’s not only very funny, it also shows off some of the beautiful landscapes of County Cork. One highlight was a castle they visited and it looked like it wasn’t real, like the production crew had created it specifically for the movie.
I can confirm that the castle is most definitely real and not only that but it’s even more incredible in person. It even has a name, Dun Lough castle, which means the fort of the lake and it’s a pretty apt name as it is nestled right next to a beautiful small lake. Perhaps though, it should be called the fort of the lake atop the cliffs however as it is perched on the edge of 100 metre cliffs on the western headland above the Mizen Head. It was built in 1207, soon after the Norman invasion and was built on the site of an even more ancient Celtic promontory fort.
The castle consists of three towers, hence the Three Castle name of the headand. The wall connecting the three towers is around 20 feet in height, making it one of the highest medieval walls still intact in the country.
When we arrived at the car park it was a very atmospheric morning with a thick fog shrouding the area. It was still on the ground as we crested the hill and got our first glimpse of the castle but quickly dissipated in the rising sunshine. It certainly added to the haunting feeling of the place and being a castle in Ireland, it does of course have some suitably creepy and ghostly stories. The last family to have allegedly resided there were the O‘Donohue’s, all of whom apparently died tragically in suicide or murder. A drop of blood supposedly drops daily in the tower by the lake because of this. Another claim is that of an enchanted white “Lady of the Lake”. If one sees her then one will die imminently, according to the stories. Others maintain that gold lies hidden in the lake, the bottom of which has never been found, with buried treasures below the castles that if discovered bring only misfortune. So yeah, a cheery spot all around really haha.
Those cliffs at the back of the castle are most impressive indeed and really add to the epic fairy tale atmosphere of the place and we spent a bit of time (carefully) walking around the top and trying to stay a respectful distance from the edge. No photo is worth dying for so it’s best to air on the side of caution and respect the fact that these places can be incredibly dangerous and play it safe.
As we left the area and made our way back towards the car, the fog began to descend once again, almost as if we had been welcomed into this secret world and it was now returning back to the fog, taking its secrets and mysteries with it. Thanks for having us Dun Lough Castle, you certainly set the bar very high for the rest of the trip!