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McSwyne Castle
 

County

Donegal

Coordinates

N 54° 37' 07.98"   W 008° 22' 49.32"

Nearest town

Dunkineely

Grid Ref.

G 75433 74583

Map No.

10

Elevation a.s.l. (m)

15

Date of visit

Monday 3 June 2019

GPS Accuracy (m)

2
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The ruins of McSwyne Castle on the small peninsula of St. John's Point.


The ruins of McSwyne Castle, also known with the name of Rahan Castle, are on a small peninsula of St. John's Point, south of Dunkineely. There's no easy access to the ruins, and a walk through some fields is required.
The only surviving part of this castle is a wall with a narrow window on the south-southeast (160°) side and another fragment of building further south.

The castle was built in the 15th century by the McSwynes. The McSwyne family was likely from Argyll, Scotland, and they were Gallowglasses, mercenary soldiers. After the Plantation of Ulster they lost the castle and the lands to William Stewart which passed it on to John Murray, a favourite of King James VI of Scotland who made him Earl of Annandale in 1625.
When John Murray died in 1640, his son James inherited the title and the lands, but then all the properties went into the hands of Robert Creighton who changed his surname to Murray.
In the following year, after the Irish Rebellion, the castle and the lands fell into a dispute between King Charles II and the Murray family.
A positive judgement failed to arrive and the castle fell in ruins.

Niall Mór McSwyne, a Gallowglass and local chieftain, was one of the family members to live in the castle, where he died on December 14th, 1524. His grave slab is visible in the St. Mary's church in Killybegs.


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