Kinbane Castle is situated just outside Ballycastle, on the north Antrim coast in Ireland. The name Kinbane comes from the Irish ‘Ceinn Bán’ meaning White Head and refers to the white limestone visibile from the other side of the headland on which the castle stands.
Many people know about the famous Dunluce Castle on the north Antrim coast but Kinbane has remained something of a hidden treasure. Perhaps this is something to do with the more remote nature of this castle.
The road to Kinbane is not suitable for tourist coaches so is not part of the tourist trail. In addition, the steep path down is often closed due to landslides. I have visited this location a number of times and the conditions are usually wild. Huge waves and very strong winds make it a challenging but fun and rewarding location to photograph.
However, on my most recent visit, the wind and seas were calm. My previous visits were in winter when the sun rises behind the castle itself. However, I wanted to visit in summer as I knew the sun would rise to the north of the headland itself. The location of the castle means it serves as an excellent sunrise location all year round and with the often wild and weather-beaten conditions, no two shots are ever going to be the same.
The castle was built in 1547 by the MacDonnells and in 1551 the castle was besieged by English forces. The hollow below the castle is known as Lag na Sassenach (Hollow of the English) and it was here during the 16th century that a garrison of English soldiers laying siege to the castle were surrounded and massacred. Fires lit on the headland as calls for assistance were answered by clansmen who came from all directions and surrounded the garrison.
Kinbane remained with the descendants of this family until the 18th century. On the day I took this photograph, I arrived at 5.15am about 45 minutes before sunrise. Halfway down the long stepped path, I stopped to take some twilight shots of Kinbane Head with the beautiful island of Rathlin acting as a backdrop, it’s three lighthouses flashing.
I knew the tide would be quite low when I arrived, which wasn’t ideal, but I negotiated out to the very edge of the water for an interesting composition. There were still some rogue waves so I had to be careful with my lens.
I sat and waited. Cloud shrouded the horizon, but above was a very interesting formation. As sunrise itself approached, colour filled the sky, providing a perfect backdrop for a stunning location.
About Hibernia Landscapes
Hibernia Landscapes is the alias of Lisburn based photographer, Stephen Wallace. Stephen’s interests lie in landscape photography and traditional pub interior photography.
Destinations are supplied for information only and the information is used at your own risk. Always take proper precautions when out in the Mountains and make sure you are equipped for all weathers. It is wise to let someone know your route before you head out. Do you have a favourite photographic location, why not submit your own adventure.